Saturday, April 30, 2011

Racial Issues: Rights group seeks hate crime charges against man who allegedly ran down Middle Eastern "terrorist"

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations

The Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) today called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to add hate crime charges to those already brought against a man who allegedly ran down a Clearwater, Fla., road worker he thought was a Middle Eastern "terrorist."

CAIR said Gerald Christopher Prebe, 35, allegedly tried to kill the city employee Thursday afternoon by running him down with his truck. He reportedly told investigators he "thought the worker was a terrorist, possibly of Middle Eastern descent, and wanted to kill him." The alleged attacker was charged with attempted murder and is being held on $100,000 bond.

The 53-year-old African-American victim was hospitalized due to a fractured neck and internal bleeding.

SEE: Was Clearwater Hit-and-Run a Hate Crime?

Police: Clearwater Man Thought City Employee was 'Terrorist'

"Because of the apparent bias motive in this case, state and federal law enforcement authorities should consider adding appropriate hate crime charges," said CAIR-Tampa Communications Director Ramzy Kilic. "We believe these types of incidents are an inevitable result of the growing anti-Muslim sentiment in American society."

Kilic noted that CAIR recently called for a hate crime investigation of two apparently bias-motivated attacks on a Georgia mosque. Vandals twice this month shattered doors and windows of the Islamic Center of Cartersville with rocks, one of which was reportedly painted with "Muslim murderers."