EAST LANSING, Mich., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations wants the FBI to mount a hate-crime investigation following the discovery of a burned Koran.
The burned Muslim holy book found in front of the Islamic Center of East Lansing also had some of its pages torn out and it appeared to have been smeared with feces, The Detroit News reported Monday.
"It's one thing to have freedom of speech and to burn a Koran or have a hate symbol on private property. But when a person goes on someone's personal residence or religious institution, that's different," said Dawud Walid, executive director of Michigan's Islamic council chapter. "This is no different than someone painting a swastika on a synagogue or burning a cross on a black church."
The FBI and members of the East Lansing police went to the center Saturday to investigate, but the information wasn't made public until after the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the newspaper said.
A spokesman for the center said its neighbors represent a wide range of religions, and they gathered up some of the torn pages and brought them to the mosque in a show of support.
"In a two- to three-block radius, our neighbors who are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, atheist have been kindly bringing in the pieces to the center," Abdalmajid Katranji said in the report. "If anything, this event has united us more than anything else."
A Florida church sparked demonstrations and criticism when it said it would burn copies of the Koran to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Its pastor, Terry Jones, later called the stunt off, but it may have sparked other incidents, the newspaper said.
Two ministers in Springfield, Tenn., reportedly burned a Koran, and an unidentified man ripped pages from, and set fire to, a Koran outside the planned community center and mosque near Ground Zero Saturday.