In August, the Council on American Islamic Relations demanded that law enforcement officials in McAllen, Texas, investigate an intentionally-set fire at a Muslim store as a possible hate crime. As CAIR noted in one of its endless press release decrying Islamophobia in America:
“The fire followed two separate incidents in which unknown parties painted the phrase “Go Home” on the door of the store. The hate-graffiti appeared just after the store began running advertisements on local television that featured a Muslim woman wearing an Islamic head scarf.”
Well, the cops investigated. And guess who they arrested? The Muslim owner of the store. The New York Times reported:
The man, Amjad Abunar, had complained that “Go Home” was twice spray-painted on a door of his Al Madinah Market before a fire on Aug. 6 that gutted the small delicatessen. Only last week, the graffiti and fire were cited as evidence by a Washington advocacy group that hate crimes against Muslims were on the rise in Texas.
Bond for Mr. Abunar was set at $150,000, and he remained in jail on Wednesday.
Representatives of the advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which had complained that McAllen officials were not investigating the fire as a possible hate crime, said they were stunned Wednesday to learn of Mr. Abunar’s arrest.
Ibrahim Hooper, a council official in Washington, said Mr. Abunar had assured him he had nothing to do with setting the fire.
“Stunned?” The Muslim lobby’s gullible hate crime howlers have been duped before. Muslim self-arsonists and self-grafitti vandals have been a recurring post-Sept. 11 problem. Daniel Pipes noted the case of a Washington state Muslim business owner’s bogus hate crimes claims in August:
In the early morning on July 9, 2004, a fire burned much of the Continental Spices Cash & Carry, a grocery store in Everett, Washington, specializing in Pakistani, Indian and Middle Eastern groceries. The fire caused an estimated $50,000 in damages but no injuries. On putting out the fire, police and firefighters found a gasoline can, a spray-painted obscenity against Arabs and a spray-painted white cross. Rupinder Bedi, the proprietor of a 7-Eleven next door, told the Seattle Times how he found Continental Spices’ manager, Mirza Akram, 37 and a Pakistani, crying and telling him “he had been harassed by some customers earlier this summer [and that] the verbal slurs didn’t stop until he threatened to call police.”
Further, the Everett Herald reports:
The morning of the fire, the store manager told investigators he feared the fire had been set in retaliation for attacks on Americans in the Middle East. He claimed that the month before, two white men came to the store and became upset when they learned he had been born in Pakistan. They left the store angry.
That was the story. On August 19, however, the police arrested Akram in his store on a federal arson warrant. He stands accused of setting fire to the store to collect insurance on the building and its contents. U.S. attorneys explained in court that mounting financial losses led Akram to stage an arson and then make it look like a hate crime…
…Akram allegedly schemed for months to burn it down. (Ironically, the store was not on the policy.) On the evening of July 8. he met with an unnamed male friend (who has since turned state’s evidence) at his home and told the friend how he had poured gasoline inside the store and lit incense above the gasoline, expecting the incense would ignite the gasoline.
Akram allegedly had the friend drive to the store in the early morning of the 9th to see if it was on fire. He called Akram and reported that is was not. Then, about 4 a.m. on July 9, the friend entered the store and dropped burning incense into the gasoline, causing a fire to erupt so fast that it burnt the friend’s trousers. He “narrowly escaped” the building without injury.
Phone records obtained by investigators show 11 calls between Akram and his friend between midnight and 4 a.m. on the day of the fire. If convicted of arson, Akram faces up to 20 years in prison.
While Akram is presumed innocent until proven guilty, this tale points once again to (1) the need to treat claims of “hate crimes” with less than total credulity and (2) the unreliability and poor judgment of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Immediately on July 10, CAIR rushed a press release out the door, “Arsonist Torches Muslim Store in Washington,” calling on “local and national leaders to address the issue of growing Islamophobic prejudice following an arson attack on a Muslim-owned business in Washington State.”
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