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Press Release

Join us for the vigil on Friday, March 1st: RSVP here

The Greater Indianapolis Muslim community is saddened and disheartened by the recent murder of Mustafa Ayoubi, a 32-year old IU Kelley School of Business graduate, devoted son and brother, and loyal friend. Ayoubi’s friends were present during the shooting and witnessed the alleged shooter shout bigoted and Islamophobic statements at Ayoubi before pulling the
trigger and taking his life.

We strongly condemn the abhorrent sentiments of hate and bigotry and we continue to work closely with IMPD for a transparent investigation into this hate crime.

Our hearts and prayers are with Mustafa’s family and friends, and we appreciate the outpouring support from the interfaith community. We will not tolerate bigotry in our Hoosier State, and with our allies, will continue our work to ensure that no community will grieve because of hate.

Signed in love,

Congressman Andre Carson, Indiana Congressional District 7
Hiba Alami, Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network (IMAN Associates)
Aliya Amin, Muslim Alliance of Indiana (MAI)
Imam Ahmed AlAmine, Masjid Alfajr
Halima Alkhattab, Indianapolis Muslim Community Association (IMCA)
Ashhar Madni, Al Salam Foundation
Michael Saahir, Nur-Allah Islamic Center
Dr. Muhammad Majid, Muslim Community Center
Board of Directors, Alhuda Foundation
Ismail Aleem, Masjid Al-Mumineen

For more information contact:

MAI Executive Director Aliya Amin at 317-306-1998 or [email protected] 
and 
IMAN Executive Director Hiba Alami at 317-798-0688 or [email protected]

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

FAMILY OF MUSTAFA AYOUBI TO ADDRESS MEDIA PRIOR TO HEARING

Zahra Ayoubi, sister of Mustafa Ayoubi, will address the media at the Marion County Courthouse on Friday morning at 8:30 prior to the initial hearing proceedings for Dustin Passarelli on February 22, 2019 at 9:00 AM.  

On Saturday, suspect Dustin Passarelli followed the victim, 32-year old IU graduate Mustafa Ayoubi, on I-465 near 38th street. Upon exiting the interstate, the suspect followed Ayoubi to his destination, an apartment complex near Eagle Creek, and shot the victim multiple times. The suspect has been arrested on a preliminary charge of murder and booked into the Marion County Jail, according to the IMPD.    

Eye witnesses said the suspect was “shouting anti-Islamic slurs at them and was telling them to ‘get out of our country, you are foreigners.'” (SEE: WIBC)  

Hoosier Muslim community leaders are calling on local law enforcement to vigorously investigate a possible hate crime motive for the murder of Mustafa Ayoubi, irrespective of the status of any hate crime legislation pending in the State.

WHO: Zahra Ayoubi, sister of victim Mustafa Ayoubi

WHAT: Initial Hearing Proceedings for Suspect Dustin Passarelli

WHEN: Friday, February 22 at 9:00 AM 

WHERE: Indianapolis Criminal Division 4. Address: 200 E. Washington St. #W203, Indianapolis, IN 46204

In a statement, Aliya Amin, Executive Director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, said: 

“We believe the initial characterization of this heinous crime as a road rage incident does not fully take into account that the victim’s friends, who were direct eye-witnesses, state that the suspect targeted them because of their religion and ethnicity.  Multiple eyewitness accounts of a possible hate crime motive ought to be more than enough impetus for police to pursue that possibility.  Regardless of the lack of a hate crime law on the books, the victim’s family and the Indiana Muslim community deserve full transparency about the suspect’s motives, and we expect the IMPD to share the results of any preliminary investigation.”  

In a statement, Hiba Alami, the Executive Director of IMAN, said:

“While our legislature debates the language of a proposed hate crimes statute,  the hate-motivated murder this weekend tragically demonstrates how real this issue is to Muslim and other marginalized communities.  Hate crimes target the entire community because any one of us could have been on Interstate 465 that day and become a target.  We hope to hear from the IMPD soon regarding the suspect’s complete motive, which would include taking into account the eyewitnesses.” 

In a statement, Arsalan Bukhari, Strategic Communications Manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said:

“We have witnessed an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants, and members of other minority groups since 2016.  When government officials promote hateful rhetoric on the national level, or here at the state level do not recognize hate crimes, tragedies like what has befallen the Ayoubi family are only made worse.”   

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported a sharp rise in anti-Muslim incidents and hate crimes since 2016 (see: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/hate-crimes-against-us-muslims-have-jumped-since-2016-2018-04-24), and the FBI reported a sharp overall rise in hate crimes since 2016 as well (See: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/us/hate-crimes-fbi-2017.html).   

Muslim Alliance of Indiana (MAI) envisions a future in which thriving and integrated Hoosier Muslims serve their broader communities and the state, and in which they are considered as an indispensable component of Indiana’s political, economic, religious and social fabrics. It also works towards building a broad Hoosier Muslim community that is strong in its diversity, inclusive, and is capable of effective collective action to preserve its civil rights and liberties, along with those of other vulnerable groups. www.indianamuslims.org

Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network (IMAN) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization that strives to provide Muslim Hoosiers an educated, organized and amplified political voice advocating for positive civic and political changes in the State of Indiana. http://imanactivists.org/

END

The Muslim Alliance of Indiana (MAI) is deeply disturbed by recent anti-Muslim rhetoric in political campaigning. The experiences of minority groups has shown that divisive and demeaning rhetoric tends to incite acts of violence and intimidation. Today, Muslims are experiencing an upsurge in harassment and hate crimes and are becoming fearful in going about their daily lives.

We reject demands that Muslims be required to register in a national database, wear special badges, or be prohibited from entering the United States based on religious belief. We also believe that it is cruel to turn away genuine refugees based on religion or nationality, and contradicts a fundamental American values stated on our Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…”

Intolerance based on religion, nationality, or race is a betrayal of values that all Americans and Hoosiers cherish. MAI is grateful for the support and encouragement of the many religious, civic, and political groups who have spoken and are speaking out against bigotry toward Muslims.

It is noted that MAI has consistently and without reservation condemned acts of terrorism, most recently the horrific shootings in San Bernardino (see statement of 12-4-2015).

The vision of MAI is to see Muslim Hoosiers thriving and actively serving their communities, helping to build a diverse, inclusive, and vibrant state characterized by strong social justice. MAI also strives to build a unified Muslim community that is well-integrated into Indiana’s political, economic, religious and social fabrics, and is working to preserve the civil rights and liberties of all vulnerable groups.

The Muslim Alliance of Indiana (MAI) and the Council of Indiana Muslim Organizations (CIMO) on behalf of all Muslim Hoosiers unequivocally condemns the shootings in San Bernardino, now been identified as associated with terrorism. Muslim Hoosiers offer sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed or injured in this attack. We are deeply saddened by the loss of precious innocent lives , and disturbed to learn that the suspects appear to have been radicalized by Daesh propaganda.

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks elsewhere in the world and mass shootings in the US, Americans are naturally very concerned about the threat of violence in public places. MAI has partnered with federal and local law enforcement agencies to promote public safety, counter-terrorism methods, and threat awareness. During the recent MAI annual convention, a workshop by the federal bureau of investigation (FBI) provided a stronger understanding of how all citizens and communities can work with the FBI to identify and prevent threats to the public. Further, the convention was addressed by Mr. Jay Abbott, special agent in charge of the FBI for Indianapolis, who focused on the need for continued engagement of all communities to stop violence and ensure justice.

While the US has witnessed growing gun violence in recent year, terrorism remains thankfully relatively rare in our country. The Global Database on Terrorism at the University of Maryland reported that for the period 2004-2013, the greatest losses of life due to terrorist attacks occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria – all countries with large Muslim populations.

Islamic teachings completely forbid the killing of any human being without just cause and due legal process, in order to deter murder or mayhem (Quran 5:32 and 17:33), and urge Muslims toward peace and forgiveness, and against evil, in over a hundred other verses. We urge Muslims to work for peace and human freedom, to tolerate free speech, and to assist law enforcement in preventing terrorism and pursuing justice. We also urge political leaders to avoid conflating Islam and Muslims with the despicable actions of a few deranged or radicalized individuals.

MAI Urges Governor Pence to Reconsider Recent Decision
by Hafsa Nalim
On November 16, Governor Pence announced that he is suspending the resettlement of refugees from Syria in the state of Indiana until “proper security measures” can be assured, in light of the recent tragic attacks in Paris, at the hands of the so-called Islamic State.

We at the Muslim Alliance of Indiana express our disappointment and shame at Governor Pence’s decision to turn away families that have been terrorized and forced from their homes. Over 12 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes in the recent conflict; the majority of the refugees that would be accepted into the United States are women and children, orphans, victims of torture, the elderly, the disabled—the most vulnerable members of society.

Pence’s position is largely redundant. All refugees, including those from Syria, already go through a more extensive screening than any other type of immigrant or tourist, undergoing multiple investigations of their biographies and family history, medical screenings, fingerprinting, and lengthy interviews, a vetting process that involves multiple government agencies and can take upwards of three years.

Furthermore, multiple legal sources have shown that Governor Pence has no legal authority to prevent the arrival of Syrian refugees who have been admitted into the United States. President Obama has committed to receiving 85,000 refugees (10,000 from Syria) in the coming year. In comparison, Germany expects to receive 1.5 million refugees in the next year, and French president François Hollande recently announced that despite the Paris attacks, France will receive 30,000 refugees over the next two years, an act of compassion and resilience that should be admired.

We must recognize that the purpose of the recent terrorist attacks, in Paris and Beirut and across the world, was to make us all afraid—to make Americans afraid of their Muslim neighbors and Muslims afraid of the reaction of the West. The call to slam the door on Syrian refugees sends a message to Americans and the rest of the world that they are somehow a threat, when in reality, Muslims make up the majority of those murdered by ISIS.

The so-called Islamic State thrives on the notion that there is some great war between the West and Islam. But the Muslim Alliance of Indiana is living proof of the deeply connected values that Muslims and Americans share—justice, compassion, and moral accountability. We work to provide opportunities for the poor, to provide legal aid to the disenfranchised, to increase the channels of communication between diverse communities, to engage with American civic discourse. We hope that Indiana will stand by these shared values and reject the antagonistic narrative, which only benefits those whose objective is hatred.

Bigotry and fear are not the values for which Hoosiers stand. As Governor Pence himself stated in his announcement, “Indiana has a long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world.” It is a sad day for our state when we turn our backs on that tradition. MAI urges the Governor to reconsider his position, to not give in to fear and Islamophobia, and to embrace the values of resilience, inclusiveness, and compassion that have made this state and nation strong.