A Muslim advocacy group called on the FBI Wednesday to investigate as a hate crime an incident in which an apparently bullet-riddled copy of the Quran was found outside an Islamic clothing store.
The Los Angeles-based Council on American-Islamic Relations said the owner of Al-Farah Islamic Clothing in Anaheim, California, found an English translation of the Quran pierced with multiple holes and hanging on the front door of the store Tuesday morning.
The store owner contacted CAIR-LA and the Anaheim Police Department, which is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, Anaheim police Sgt. Daron Wyatt said.
Several months ago, an unidentified individual shattered a store window. Police are investigating whether the two incidents are related.
"Anyone has the right to be a bigot, but when that bigotry is expressed through the targeting of individuals or businesses through acts of intimidation similar to a cross burning, it crosses the line into criminal behavior," said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. "If you shoot up a Quran on your own property, that is bigoted freedom of expression. If you deliver that bullet-riddled Quran to a Muslim home or business, that is an act of intimidation and a hate crime."
FBI officials are reviewing the incident.
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Ayloush noted that in 2003, the United States Supreme Court ruled that acts of intimidation like KKK-style cross burnings may be prohibited if the perpetrator is carrying out the burning to intimidate or terrorize.
He said the Anaheim incident appeared to be part of an "unprecedented" spike in anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris.
Muslim leaders have reported recent vandalism, threats and other hate crimes targeting mosques in Nebraska, Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, New York and other states.
Nyree Arabian contributed to this report.