Oklahoma City Muslim family members think they were targeted because of their faith

The family's home was shot at more than a dozen times in a drive-by shooting Thursday evening.
BY VALLERY BROWN vbrown@opubco.com Published: February 2, 2013

Adam Soltani, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter on the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said his organization wants the shooting to be investigated as a possible hate crime.

“Our concern is the family's safety,” he said. “If this is a bias crime ... it's concerning to us that anyone would be targeted because they are Muslim.”

Police found about 10 shell casings from at least two different guns Thursday night. Several more casings were found around the house Friday during the daylight hours.

Though some areas in their Capitol Hill neighborhood have been prone to violence, Maryam Taghavi, Allie's wife, said the family has felt safe the 23 years it has been in the home. She doesn't think it's a coincidence that, just two days before, a stranger was asking about their religion.

“It couldn't be a coincidence,” Maryam Taghavi said. “This is just wrong to me, and I can't wrap my head around it.”

Anti-Islamic hate crimes jumped from around 36 in 2000 to 481 in 2001, according to FBI data. The numbers largely have stayed between around 100 and 160 in subsequent years, with 157 reported in 2011 in the state, the most recent year for which data is available.

Soltani said Oklahoma is typically a comfortable place for Muslims to live. But he's troubled by the violence to the Taghavi family's home, particularly in lieu of the recent targeting of mosques in the region and in Oklahoma City.

The Grand Mosque, 3201 NW 48, was vandalized with paintballs in August, just before the celebration of the end of Ramadan. No suspects have been arrested in that case.

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