Muslim man severely beaten outside Florida mosque
A Muslim man was severely beaten outside a Florida mosque attended by Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen early Saturday morning, an Islamic civil rights group said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said a white man in a truck stopped outside the Fort Pierce Islamic Centre at 4:15 am Saturday and started making racial slurs, saying "You Muslims need to get back to your country."
The man then attacked a worshiper who was not identified, causing head trauma and knocking out a tooth.
The incident comes as the group says local authorities ignored requests by the mosque for increased security, despite numerous threats.
CAIR said mosques around the state have received multiple threats and acts of intimidation, including a motorcycle group that repeatedly circled the Fort Pierce mosque in an attempt to intimidate worshippers and an Orlando mosque that was vandalised.
"This should not have happened. For over two weeks we have been emphasizing that the community from the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce needs to be offered security from the Sheriff's Office," said Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, CAIR-Florida Communications Director.
"Unfortunately, our requests were repeatedly ignored. Will someone have to be killed for the Sheriff to provide safety and security to this mosque? Muslims are part of the community just like everyone else. It is his [the Sheriff's] duty and responsibility to ensure the safety of all his citizens."
Ruiz added that the group planned to file a complaint with Florida governor Rick Scott and with the Department of Justice.
Ruiz also said that Omar Mateen sometimes attended Friday prayers but didn't socialise with other worshipers.
On Wednesday, two Muslim men were wounded in a shooting on their way to attend nighttime prayers in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Five Muslim were seated in a car, which was stopped at a corner, when two white men came up to them and shouted anti-Muslim epithets local media reported.
Seven shots were fired at the victims' vehicle, according CAIR's Jaylani Hussein, and the victims aged 19 and 22, were struck in the leg and taken to hospital.
Minneapolis police announced Thursday that they will be investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.