By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer
HARTFORD — The Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has reported that there’s a spike in hate crime against Muslims and is calling for stepped up security measures.
The call comes after an envelope containing white powder and hate mail with derogatory comments about Islam were sent to a mosque in Groton.
A 43-year-old man was exposed to the powder after he opened the envelope at the Islamic Center of New London at 16 Fort St, according to police.
The Groton Police Department and the FBI are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
“We are in contact with mosque officials and law enforcement authorities and will continue to monitor the situation,” said CAIR-Connecticut Executive Director Alicia Strong. “We advise all Connecticut mosques and other Islamic institutions to remain alert for any suspicious letters or packages. If you do receive anything suspicious notify authorities immediately and report the incident to CAIR-Connecticut.”
Strong is also urging Islamic institutions to take extra security precautions using its “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety” booklet. The advice in CAIR’s security publication is applicable to religious institutions of all faiths.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization recently released an update on anti-Muslim incidents nationwide between April and June of 2018 indicating that anti-Muslim bias incidents and hate crimes are up 83 and 21 percent respectively, as compared to the first quarter of 2018.