Seattle-area Muslims say they were targeted by hate crime

Sep 7, 2012

A civil rights group is calling for the FBI to investigate what they say was a hate crime against nine Seattle-area Muslims.

On Sept. 1, Philip Brown and eight other young Muslim friends set out for a jet skiing trip to Lake Chelan, driving a Toyota Prius and a rented BMW 3 series sedan. After an afternoon in the freezing cold water, they say they returned to the parking area to find the BMW covered in racist slogans.

“Doon coons,” and another anti-Muslim slur that includes the “N-word” were scrawled in permanent marker, along with scratches and vulgar images.

Brown says he and his friends were upset, but pretty matter-of-fact about it.

“It didn’t seem like many of us were like very surprised. I know that’s kind of sad to say, but that’s just – after seeing this happen so much, it wasn’t a surprise to us,” Brown said.

Brown says he came forward because most bias crimes never get reported, as victims fear reprisals. His companions at Lake Chelan declined to speak publicly.

The Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says hate crimes and discrimination seem to be increasing in severity in recent months, though the number is on par with last year. The FBI says Washington had 75 hate crimes based on religion or ethnicity in 2010, the latest year they’ve published data.

CAIR has reported the Chelan incident to the FBI, and the alleged victims filed a report with the local sheriff as well.