CAIR-LA Calls for Probe of Hate Crimes Targeting Disabled Muslim Army Veteran
Anaheim, CA: The Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) has called on law enforcement authorities to investigate harassment and false accusations of terrorism targeting an American Muslim Army veteran at a military facility in Barstow, Calif., as possible hate crimes.
Mohamed Abbas, a disabled US Army veteran working at the Department of Defense’s Marine Department Maintenance Command Production Plant, was accused by a co-worker of threatening to blow up the base following the San Bernardino attack in December 9, 2015.
The following day, he reportedly went to work and was denied entry onto the base. He called his supervisor and discovered that he was placed on administrative leave and banned from the base after being falsely accused of making threats. On December 10, his desk at work was raided by the Marine Corps Police Department and Bomb Squad.
The military’s Criminal Investigation Department conducted an investigation and determined the allegations were unfounded. Statements the alleged witness provided to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and (NCIS) were determined to be inconsistent. No action was taken against the person who made the false accusations. Abbas returned to work in February 2016.
Abbas has worked as a tools and parts attendant at the base since 2010 and alleges that harassment directed toward him began four years ago. His work locker was reportedly vandalized with the word “raghead.” He scratched it out and did not report it out of fear of retribution. He says he would routinely receive comments from co-workers who would ask questions such as, “When are you going to blow the place up?”
On September 1, his locker in the men’s restroom was vandalized again with “terrorist” and “raghead” graffiti. He reported the incident to a security supervisor who took pictures but did not call police. Abbas called military base police himself, but said despite his efforts to resolve these issues, “they don’t go anywhere.” Abbas has filed two cases with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
CAIR-LA has reached out to Detective Lopez at the Barstow Marine Corps Police Department who said the investigation is ongoing and it is undecided whether the case will be treated as a hate crime.
"Hate and bigotry have no place in our country, especially not at a US military base,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. “CAIR-LA is working with Mr Abbas to ensure his rights as a disabled American Muslim veteran are protected and that the perpetrators of such hateful actions are brought to justice."