Group warns of anti-Muslim incidents during Ramadan

Filipino Muslims pray as they observe on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan at dawn Saturday, May 27, 2017 in Iligan city, southern Philippines. Iligan city is one of the safe havens for the tens of thousands of Marawi residents who have fled their city following the rampage by Muslim militants. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)(AP/Bullit Marquez)

WASHINGTON — The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is underway and the civil rights group Muslim Advocates is warning mosques to be on guard against anti-Muslim acts including arson and vandalism.

“Muslim Advocates is very concerned that anti-Muslim bigots will look at Ramadan as an opportunity to target Muslims,” said Scott Simpson, spokesman for Muslim Advocates.

“Last Ramadan we saw a surge in violence, we saw a surge in targeting of mosques and Muslims,” he said.

The group recommends mosques employ common sense security steps including enhanced lighting and security cameras.

Hate crimes have been on the upswing in the United States and in the D.C. area. But when it comes to religiously motivated crimes, it’s anti-Jewish incidents that top the list.

According to FBI statistics for 2015, the most recent year that national numbers are available, there were 1,244 reported bias incidents motivated by religion. 664 were anti-Jewish, followed by 257 anti-Muslim incidents.

Far fewer incidents were perpetrated against Catholics, Protestants, Mormons and other religious groups.

Hate crime statistics for 2016 were recently released by Montgomery County police.

Police report 38 incidents last were motivated by bias toward religion — 84 percent were anti-Jewish.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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