The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on law enforcement to continue a hate crime investigation in an apparent anti-Muslim hate attack in Sunnyvale.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, police officials said Isaiah Joel Peoples may have intentionally rammed his car into a crowd of pedestrians on Wednesday because he believed some of them were Muslim. A 13-year-old victim is in a coma and several other pedestrians were critically injured.
The Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety is investigating the incident and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office has filed eight attempted murder charges. The suspect was arraigned today and is being held without bail.
“Our prayers are with the 13-year old victim who remains in a coma. This incident, in our region, is a reminder that anti-Muslim violence is increasing across the country,” said CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo. “We are in touch with the District Attorney’s office and appreciate their understanding of the seriousness of the matter as well as their commitment to continue to investigate this as a hate crime. If there is evidence to support the allegations that Mr. Peoples was motivated by anti-Muslim bias, appropriate hate crimes enhancements must be filed.”
CAIR-SFBA was contacted by the District Attorney’s office about their continued investigation of and the potential addition of a hate crime enhancement to the attempted murder charges.
CAIR chapters across the country are urging mosque leaders to increase security at local facilities and to remain vigilant following a number of recent hate attacks targeting Americans who are Muslim or perceived to be Muslim.
CAIR continues to ask mosques and other Islamic institutions to take measures outlined in its “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety” guide. Advice offered in CAIR’s security publication is applicable to all institutions, regardless of organizational mission.
The guide may be viewed at: https://tinyurl.com/BestSafetyPractices.