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Islamic rights group sounds alarm over grave desecration

The most recent incident adds to worry about a trend in anti-Islamic crimes in suburban Chicago.

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Muslim rights groups are sounding the alarm over another incident that they fear may show a rise in anti-Islamic sentiment in Illinois. A Muslim man visiting a grave Thursday at Evergreen Cemetery in southwest suburban Evergreen Park reportedly found another grave covered with graffiti. Apparently written in black marker, the scrawlings repeated the derogatory term “raghead,” and insulted the Islamic prophet Mohammed.

“We’re calling on this crime to be charged as a hate crime, but we’re waiting for the results of the investigation,” said Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Rehab said CAIR has contacted the mayor of Evergreen Park, the Cook County State’s Attorney, and the FBI.

An Evergreen Park police department spokesman says this grave is the only one that was vandalized, and that it’s been targeted six times since March of last year. Still, Rehab says in the wake of a shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple and recent incidents against Muslim institutions in suburban Illinois, the case is worrisome.“We’ve never had a period, I don’t recall, where we’ve been inundated with such cases, day in, day out, as we are right now,” said Rehab.

Last weekend a man shot at a mosque in Morton Grove with an air rifle, and someone threw a bottle of chemicals into a Muslim school in Lombard. CAIR officials are advising mosques in the region to be especially vigilant this weekend, when large congregations may be gathering to celebrate Eid, the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

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