RNS reports that many Muslim Americans are approaching the end of Ramadan on Sunday (Aug. 19) under a cloud of fear as Muslim groups try to increase security without spurring panic.
It’s easy to see why. Seven U.S. mosques have been attacked or vandalized in the last two weeks, including three attacks last weekend. A mosque in Joplin, Missouri, was burned to the ground, and on the same weekend a Sikh temple was attacked by a gunman who apparently thought they were Muslim.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington D.C. issued a safety advisory on Aug. 6, advising Muslims to install surveillance equipment, request extra police patrols, and report suspicious vehicles driving near mosques ahead of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago sent a memo to its 63 mosques and organizations, advising them to create safety committees, emergency and evacuation plans to be distributed to members, and to ask police for patrols during Ramadan and peak prayer times.
“We ask our member organizations and the Muslim community in general to exercise extreme caution and immediately report any incidents of harassment, abuse or violence to the appropriate authorities,” said Dr. Zaher Sahloul, CIOGC chairman, in a statement.
“I think people do feel concern about their safety going to and from or being at mosques and in general feeling like prey,” said Kelly Kaufmann, who attends the Muslim Education Center in Morton Grove, Ill., which was attacked.