CAIR: Southern California Mosque Vandalized 4th mosque vandalism reported nationwide in past month
(LOS ANGELES, CA, 12/14/2009) - The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today asked law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for recent vandalism at an Azusa mosque.
[NOTE: On Monday, December 14, CAIR-LA will release its annual report on the status of Muslim civil rights in California.]
Rahmat P. Phyakul, board chairman and one of the founders of Al-Fatiha Masjid, reported to CAIR-LA that vandals shattered windows and glass doors of the mosque’s office and prayer hall on Monday, December 7. A plaque with Quranic verses was tossed on the floor, the sound system was destroyed and donation boxes were broken into.
The mosque has suffered prior incidents of vandalism. In the past, a passerby shouted anti-Muslim slurs at worshipers. The slurs reportedly included: "You, terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, F... your God, F.... you Allah.” Prayer rugs in the mosque were also covered with urine.
The December 7 incident appeared to have taken place between 4 and 7 p.m. and was reported by congregants arriving for evening prayer. Mosque officials immediately contacted the Azusa Police Department to report the break-in, vandalism and robbery.
“We urge law enforcement authorities to utilize all their resources to immediately and fully investigate the vandalism at Masjid Al-Fatiha as a possible hate crime, especially because of the nature of the vandalism,” said Affad Shaikh, civil rights manager for CAIR-LA.
Phyakul added: "For those who have committed hate crimes against people of any faith, especially Muslims, they should know that they cannot silence us, shut us down or cause us to go away. This is our country, and we are here to stay and we are willing to stand for the truth and peace under any circumstances."
Earlier this month, vandals broke into the back door of a Sacramento mosque and damaged religious wall hangings and a book shelf that held Qurans, as well as other property in the facility, according to a police report. The vandals also stole items from the mosque.
Additionally, an Oregon mosque last month was targeted with hate graffiti. A police report indicated that vandals wrote “Allah is a pig” on the Abu-Bakr As-Siddiq Islamic center’s mailbox on or before November 15th. Local police said they view the incident as a bias crime.
Also last month, CAIR called for an investigation of a possible bias motive for repeated vandalism at a North Carolina mosque.
CAIR is urging American Muslim individuals and institutions to review advice on security procedures contained in its "Muslim Community Safety Kit.”
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.