A mosque in the Midwestern US state of Missouri has been completely destroyed in a suspected arson attack, the second attack to hit the place of worship in a little more than a month.
Muslim Mosques in the US are filled with jubilance during the holy month of Ramadan.
The Monday incident came a day after a deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek in Wisconsin, which took the lives of six people.
Sikh rights groups have reported a rise in bias attacks since the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 incidents in the US since 9/11.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abdul Alim Musa, Imam at Masjid Al-Islam, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Thank you so much for being with us. There seems to be a rise in hate crimes in general. We have seen just a day ago dealing with the Sikhs, and now we have a mosque that has been attacked and basically burnt down. Why do you think that we are seeing this situation, it seems, on the rise?
[In the Name of God -- the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate], it’s clearly a provocation by the Zionist, Israeli press, to tell you the truth. They have raised the spectrum of Islamophobia so high that people feel like there’s no restriction in their behavior and hatred towards Muslims.
This a new phenomenon that’s growing higher and higher because the press has an unrelenting program of anti-Islamic hatred, day in and day out. It’s not only Fox News but it’s the whole Israeli news apparatus inside of the United States and around the world.
We believe that these so-called hate crimes are a result of this type of propaganda, anti-Islamic propaganda that’s spread all over this country.
As you’ve just said, Imam Musa, because you’ve talked about the anti-Islamic propaganda, and even with many of the Sikhs that are attacked is because the individuals don’t realize that they are not Muslims.
It seems that Islam is the religion that is under attack the most. What do you think is the responsibility of Muslims? Is it there anything that Muslims can do in general and trying to, as you said, counter what you called the Zionist media’s influence over there?
Those who have the resources must help us to have our own independent media presence inside of the United States. The only way we can counter falsehood is with truth. It has to be constant. It has to be regular, and it has to be high-profile.
The reason that the people respond to Islamophobia in the press is because they never hear the opposite side. We’re dehumanized and made into inhuman pictures, so to speak, so we have to humanize our self. This is our, and I say Muslim, and people of conscious. It’s our responsibility to educate the public.
You have to remember that the American people are generally a good and fair people. These are general American citizens. What happens is when they’re not properly informed, trained or educated, then they use the news media as their sounding tool.
This is our problem. We have to step up, number one, our unity and cooperation among each other; and number two, our entire media profile.
I would like to say one thing on this issue of mosque burning. There has been over the decades no mosque burning in the African-American community because the African-American community is more familiar with Islam and Muslims, and usually one member of a family in Africa-America will have some association with Islam.
Therefore, people know more about the improved behavior of someone when they become a Muslim.
But the general public only hears the terrorist bombings, uncivilized behavior planted in the media by the Israeli press.