It may have been just a random prank: two dozen paintballs fired behind the Sonic in a McKinney strip center in the middle of Saturday night. The same could be said of the man whose car was hit while he drove away. But the Council on American-Islamic Relations has another word for it: hate crime.
The paintballs fired Saturday night were aimed at the McKinney Islamic Association's six-month-old mosque at Eldorado Parkway and Hardin Boulevard. Mosque officials contacted police then, because Islamic religious centers don't tend to be vandalized by accident, says CAIR, the country's largest Muslim civil liberties group. CAIR, in turn, released and widely distributed a press release calling for the incident to be investigated as a hate crime.
"If a bias motive is proven in this case, the perpetrators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, including appropriate hate crime enhancements," CAIR-DFW President Amina Rab said in the press release. "Local, state and national leaders should acknowledge the growing Islamophobia in our nation that can lead to such attacks."
The paintball attack comes after several mosque-goers report being "verbally harassed ... by young people who gather near the mosque," according to the release. Mosque officials say McKinney police have promised increased patrols of the area following the attack.