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Religious Intimidation Flies Under the Radar

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You wouldn’t know it from the complete lack of national media attention, but there are some saying that Islam is under attack in America. On September 26, a chemical irritant, was launched through the window of a Dayton, Ohio mosque, into a room full of infants and children while their parents celebrated Ramadan. A 10-year-old girl was sprayed directly in the face and several others in the building felt ill from the affects of the chemical, causing the building to be evacuated and two people to be taken to the hospital.

Amazingly, local police claim there is no reason to suspect the attack was a hate crime, because the attackers did not shout racial epithets or any verbal statements which betrayed evidence of “bias” against Muslims. One would think that the very fact of the attack, against a place of worship during a religious holiday, would be enough to demonstrate bias on the part of the attackers. An abandoned bag with a bottle of pepper spray has been found near the scene and there were no other reports of similar incidents nearby, showing that the attack was clearly targeted at the mosque and not part of a random pattern of violence.

The story has not received much attention in the mainstream media outside of Dayton, but bloggers who have been spreading the story are crying foul. They link the attack to the mass distribution of a DVD in the area days before, charging that the film foments hatred against Muslims. Any direct connection between the two is debatable, but in the years following 9/11, anti-Islamic sentiment has become commonplace in our national political discourse, and anyone who thinks bias against Muslims is not widespread obviously hasn’t been paying attention to this election cycle, where even the mere suggestion of a connection to Islam has caused controversy for the Obama campaign.

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