Police on Long Island say mosque vandalism is hate crime

Masjid Darul Quran mosque graffitimessage of hate was spray-painted on a Suffolk County mosque and now police are searching for the vandals.

The angry words on the Bay Shore mosque threatened a rising war. It’s believed that someone came over the fence and vandalized the building, police said.

The imam at Masjid Darul Quran Mosque showed CBS 2’s Lou Young the now white-washed spots where the messages were found. A pair of spray-painted statements that were written apparently referred to the overseas violence against U.S. embassies and consulates by Muslim extremists. They appeared along with an ominous reference to rising war, but the messages were directed against neighbors worshiping peacefully.

Police called it a hate crime. “This is an attack on the community here in Suffolk County. It tears at the fabric of our community,” said Suffolk County Police Lt. Stephen Hernandez

The overseas violence was condemned repeatedly from the pulpit at the Long Island mosque and the U.S. Libyan ambassador was mourned the very day he died. So the words especially hurt and the worshipers said they are worried it might not be an isolated incident.

“There are things happening all over the country. It is troubling to see this happening in America. The America that I love so much,” said worshiper Mohammed Zainul.

The hurtful graffiti was painted last week. Friday morning someone came in the other side of the property to drape toilet paper over the imam’s house. Members of the mosque said they believe the actions are part of a pattern.

“I feel scared they might hurt my brothers and all that,” worshiper Mohammed Laiqat said. “I’m definitely worried about this.” In 20 years of worship in the community, the worshipers said they have never before felt unsafe or targeted.

Police are offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the vandals.

CBS New York, 22 September 2012

See also “CAIR asks FBI to probe hate vandalism of NY mosque”,CAIR press release, 21 September 2012