Attack on Muslim Business Probed as Hate Crime

Posted on August 24, 2009

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(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/22/09) A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group reported today that anti-Iranian graffiti was scrawled inside a Philadelphia store ransacked by vandals earlier this week.

According to the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the vandals also overturned counters, broke glass windows and doors and scattered food and other items around the store, which is owned by Muslim Palestinian-Americans.

Local and national law enforcement authorities are reportedly investigating the incident as a hate crime.

SEE: Vandalism at Penn. Business Probed as Hate Crime

In 1982, Pennsylvania passed the “Ethnic Intimidation and Institutional Vandalism Act,” which offers additional charges for those who engage in “ethnic intimidation.”

What is a hate crime?

Source: Pennsylvania Inter-Agency Task Force on Civil Tension

Hate crimes can be defined with a General Definition or with Legal Definitions which vary depending on specific laws that are enacted at Federal, State and Local levels of government.

In Pennsylvania, the legal definition of a hate crime is determined by Pennsylvania’s “Hate Crime” Law, the Ethnic Intimidation and Institutional Vandalism Act.

General Definition

A hate crime is a criminal offense committed against persons, property or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by an offender’s bias against a specific characteristic of an individual or a group such as race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation.

Legal Definitions

Because hate crimes are criminal offenses, legal definitions vary according to the specific criminal law that is violated or applied.

Hate crimes can, in some instances, be prosecuted under certain Federal laws. Some local municipalities have enacted local hate crime laws or ordinances.

Most prosecution of hate crimes, however, is done using State hate crimes laws. These laws are referred to with names such as “hate crimes statutes,” “ethnic intimidation laws,” or “bias crimes statutes.”

Please click here to read more on the nature of hate crimes.

Ibrahim Hooper from CAIR urged American Muslims and other minority groups to review advice on security procedures contained in its “Muslim Community Safety Kit.”

SEE: CAIR Muslim Community Safety Kit

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