A south suburban cemetery hit with "hate graffiti" this week became the latest in a series of Chicago-area sites targeted in anti-Muslim incidents.
The Evergreen Park Cemetery is home to about 500 Muslim headstones, several of which were covered with anti-Muslim graffiti discovered Thursday by a local man who visited the cemetery, located at 3401 W. 87th St., to pay respects to his late father, CBS Chicago reports.
Chicago's Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported the "hate graffiti" on Thursday and posted photos of the desecration on their blog.
"It is shocking to find such hatred, especially at a cemetery," Ahlam Jbara, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago's associate director told the Chicago Sun-Times of the incident.
The graffiti attack comes on the heels of at least two previous incidents that targeted Chicago-area Muslim houses of worship. On Aug. 10, police were called to the police were called to the Muslim Education Center in Morton Grove, Ill. after a security guard heard projectiles whiz by and strike an outer wall of the facility where more than 500 people were praying.
David Conrad, a neighbor with a history of conflicts with the Morton Grove center, was arrested in the incident after a high-velocity air rifle was seized from his property.
On Aug. 12, a "MacGyver bomb" -- a 7-Up bottle filled with acid and other unspecified chemicals -- was hurled at the College Preparatory School of America, an Islamic school in Lombard, where evening Ramadan prayers were underway.
CAIR attorneys are contacting the Cook County state's attorney, FBI and the Evergreen Park, Ill. mayor regarding the incident, NBC Chicago reports.
"Are we moving forward or regressing?" Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago executive director, said in a statement, according to NBC. "No one should have to live in fear of being harassed, shot, bombed, injured, or killed simply because of their faith, race or ethnicity."
The recent attacks followed U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.)'s comment during an Elk Grove Village, Ill. town hall meeting that there is "a radical strain of Islam in this country...trying to kill Americans every week," a remark the Tea Party-affiliated congressman doubled down on this week.
Walsh issued a statement Friday, according to the Sun-Times, that he is "troubled by attacks on any people based on their religion. Whether it be the recent attacks on Muslims, or the roughly 1,000 anti-semitic attacks that occur every year, these incidents must stop."
CAIR is planning to hold a flash mob event against Islamophobia and hate at 5 p.m. Friday at Michigan Avenue and Congress in the Loop.
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