Muslim garb used in growing number of crimes

April 24, 2012 3:01:25 PM PDT
Recently, a number of violent criminals have traded in ski masks for traditional Islamic attire. Today religious leaders joined local politicians in center city Philadelphia to demand an end to the abuse. Just a couple weeks ago, a man disguised from head-to-toe in women's Muslim garb robbed a bank in Crescentville. It's the kind of crime Philadelphia's Muslim leaders condemned today. They also offered a large reward for any information that helps arrest and convict anyone who commits a crime while disguised as a Muslim woman.

"We are seeing it all too often now," said Seth Williams, Philadelphia's District Attorny. "Cowards, dressing in the garb of Muslim women, robbing banks, shooting people."

On April 13th, the FBI says a man robbed the Wells Fargo bank on the 700 block of Adams Avenue while dressed from head-to-toe in Muslim women's clothing. Just last week, a man dressed as a Muslim woman shot and killed a barber at this Upper Darby Barber shop. Also a band of men committed a major smash and grab heist at the King of Prussia Mall earlier this month.

Philadelphia's Muslim leaders gathered at City Hall, alongside Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. and District Attorney Seth Williams to announce that the Muslim community is offering a $20,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone committing a violent crime dressed as a Muslim woman.

"The reward is for those that perpetrate these crimes guised as Muslim women because we do consider it discriminatory against our women and Islam," said Imam Asim Abdur Rashid of Majlis Ash Shura

Together, they condemned the wearing of Muslim garb to commit a crime and they expressed their concern for the safety of all Muslim women if their religious attire starts to become associated with criminal acts.

"When criminals disguise themselves as Muslim women," Rashid said, "they put our women in danger of being stereotyped, victimized, and ostracized by society."

"When people view that not as a religious garb but as a tool by which to perpetrate a crime we cannot stand for that," said Democratic Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr.