America/Islamophobia: Muslims' concerns grow
- Muslims' concerns grow
Brad A. Greenberg, Staff Writer
Article Display Date: 09/14/2005 07:02:00 PM
Last month, the Islamic Center of Redlands reported
that someone had poured beer into a car parked in its
lot. The Ahlul-Beyt Mosque in Pomona was vandalized
and burglarized in July. And in June, an Adelanto
mosque suspiciously burned to the ground.
"Three different cities in three different months -
what I am calling for is the law enforcement to take
these things seriously and not just brush it aside,"
said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic
Shura Council, which overseas 70 mosques and Muslim
organizations. "Three incidences are more than enough
for all of us to be cautious."
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said she could not
comment about whether the three cases were related
because the Federal Bureau of Investigations had not
been notified of the Redlands and Pomona incidents.
The FBI investigates possible hate crimes but only
when contacted by local law enforcement or community
"After Sept. 11, (2001,) we saw a rise in these types
of incidents," Eimiller said. "Although we are not
seeing that now, it is certainly a concern to us."
Redlands police Capt. Tom Fitzmaurice said detectives
are still investigating but do not have enough
information to determine what happened.
Fitzmaurice and city officials met Tuesday with
Mohammad Hossain, director of the Islamic Center, to
discuss problems local Muslims have had at the
converted house in the 11200 block of Alabama Street.
For two and a half years, Hossain said by phone,
Muslims have been taunted with epithets and the center
has been vandalized. On Aug. 19, a Muslim woman
reported to police that someone had poured beer
through the partially opened window of her vehicle.
Hossain said that people attending a party across the
street later shouted, "Terrorist! Terrorist!"
Fitzmaurice said the Police Department had increased
patrols around the Islamic Center. He declined to
elaborate. Officers are encouraging the center's
neighbors to report suspicious activity and control
the behavior of people attending their parties, he
The Redlands incident reportedly occurred less than a
month after the Pomona mosque was vandalized in what
detectives have labeled a "standard burglary," Sgt.
Jed Blair said.
Doors were torn from their hinges and smashed through.
A coin-operated phone was ripped from the wall. Chairs
were assembled around a television that had been
dragged into the prayer room. A CD cover featuring a
scantily clad woman was hung on a prayer poster.
No suspects have been identified.
On June 3, a mosque at a cemetery at the northernmost
reach of Adelanto caught fire in the early morning and
burned to the ground. It was the first fire at a
Southern California mosque. The site had no gas or
The fire is still being investigated as a possible
hate crime, Eimiller said.
"You got these three cases, but it doesn't really seem
like we are getting to the bottom yet," said Salam
Al-Marayati, executive director of the Los
Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council.
"Hopefully, in due time, we can."
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