Campus police at the University of Texas-Dallas are investigating an incident in which two copies of the Koran were found in a men’s bathroom. The two books were placed in a toilet. News of the story broke on April 11 of the March 28 incident.  Campus police are reviewing video footage in order to narrow down the number of possible suspects.
 
Campus Police chief Larry Zacharias vowed that students on campus feel safe, and said that the campus is indeed diverse. 
 
“We originally suspected these Qurans may have come out of the Reflection Room, which is on the first floor of the Student Union," said Zacharias. "We’ve watched video in this time-frame and only two people went into that Reflection Room — both went in empty-handed and both came out empty-handed.” The reflection room is used for Muslim prayer.
 
In an interview with the campus newspaper, The Mercury, Mohammed Syed  -- the president of UT-Dallas' Muslim Students Association -- roundly condemned the incident. Syed said in an interview with The Mercury, “Given the current political climate and how Muslims are portrayed in the media, it makes certain individuals act in this hateful way.” Nonetheless, Syed said that the local community has reached out to support Muslims.
 
In Washington D.C., the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that a page from an English translation of the Koran was sent to their office and appeared to be smeared with a “foreign substance” that may be feces. Included with it was a letter that portrayed Barack Obama as a monkey.
 
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told The Huffington Post that his organization received hate messages every day. CAIR executive director Nihad Awad said in a statement that the package is “just a sample of the hate targeting American Muslims and other minority groups in the wake of the presidential election.”  
 
“These bigoted acts will never stop us from defending the civil rights and religious freedom of all Americans,” Awad said. 
 
Writing at Facebook, national CAIR spokesperson Zainab Chaudry wrote that “this pathetic stunt pulled by coward(s) hiding behind fake names and addresses is designed to shock and intimidate Muslim activists who are on the front lines fighting islamophobia.” She added, “It belies a deep-rooted hatred of Islam and Muslims.”


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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