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Rights group calls on US Muslims to be 'extra vigilant' in wake of Capitol riot

Council on American-Islamic Relations says threat posed by far-right white supremacist violence is high and Muslims may be targets
CAIR urged mosques and other Islamic institutions to take measures outlined in its safety booklet.
CAIR urges mosques and other Islamic institutions to take measures outlined in its safety booklet (AFP)
By in
Washington

A leading Muslim-American civil rights and advocacy group urged Muslims to remain "extra vigilant" until the end of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration amid a threat of white supremacist violence.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said on Wednesday that the threat posed by violence and armed protests in all 50 state capitals leading up to inauguration day is high, and pressed for security to be enhanced at houses of worship.

"Due to credible threats of violence in the coming week, we urge all members of the Muslim community to stay extra vigilant and avoid their state capitol buildings and surrounding areas until after the inauguration of President Biden," Huzaifa Shahbaz, CAIR's research and advocacy coordinator, said in a statement.

"We also encourage faith leaders to review and enhance the security of houses of worship, particularly those located in state capitals."

Shahbaz urged mosques and other Islamic institutions to take measures outlined in CAIR's "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety" booklet.

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According to a report by Yahoo News, the FBI is anticipating possible violence from supporters of US President Donald Trump and have put in place contingency plans in the event of major disturbances.

The report also cited evidence of credible threats related to 17 January at state buildings in Michigan and Minnesota.

Members of the far-right Boogaloo movement say there will be a nationwide "armed march" on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and all 50 state capitals on 17 January.

Last week, angry Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol Building, marching through legislative chambers while shouting and waving Trump and American flags, as well as banners associated with far-right groups.

The riot forced a halt to congressional deliberations over challenges to Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.

Demonstrators fought with Capitol Police and then forced their way into the building, not long after a huge rally near the White House, in which Trump has been accused of egging on the crowds to march on Capitol Hill.

Security officials have also briefed lawmakers on additional threats ahead of Biden's inauguration on 20 January.