LA MIRADA – The vandalism of a La Mirada mosque is not being investigated as a hate crime, Sheriff’s Department officials said Tuesday.
Someone threw a rock through the mosque’s newly installed rear doors between 2 and 6 p.m. Monday, according to Rezaur Rahman, the president of Muslim Community Services Inc.
“This is not being classified as a hate crime right now because there is nothing to substantiate it as one,” said Lt. Pat Valdez of the sheriff’s La Mirada Station. “(But) we are very concerned about it and have already notified our department’s Terrorism Early Warning Group.”
The congregation finished prayer at 2 p.m. Monday and Rahman did not return until before the evening’s prayer session.
“Everything was fine before I left the mosque yesterday afternoon, and when I returned later that evening, I noticed shattered glass on the floor near our newly installed doors,” Rahman said.
“I found a rock lying among the shattered glass and was very surprised that it could have broken through our very strong, double-layered doors,” he said.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Norwalk Station responded to the scene, 14225 Imperial Highway, 10 minutes after Rahman reported the incident.
Authorities took pictures and secured the rock as evidence.
The report has been filed as a vandalism incident and additional patrols have been placed in the mosque’s area to ensure its safety until the investigation is completed, officials said.
The mosque opened on Feb. 16 after an eight-month renovation that began in July 2010.
“This is something that motivates me to create a peace rally,” Rahman said.
Rahman said he contacted Rabbi Mark Goldfarb of Temple Beth Ohr and the Rev. Bill Miller of United Methodist Church, relaying the news regarding the incident and his interest in organizing a community peace rally.
“We’re all concerned with the situation and the Whittier Area Interfaith
Council is determined to make it clear that this is not acceptable in our community,” Miller said.
“It is an outrage and when one of us is hurt, we’re all hurt and it’s our job to stand together when things like this happen,” he said.
The congregation reconvened at 9:30 p.m. Monday for prayer which lasted until 5 a.m. Tuesday.
“At first we were afraid to publicize this, but we think it’s better if we do because we need to do our part to let everyone know that we’re here and we want peace,” Rahman said.
“It’s deeply troubling to hear about the incident at the La Mirada mosque. Unfortunately mosque vandalism around the nation is not uncommon, however, we should remember those incidents are not widespread and the American Muslim community continues to live in peace and harmony with their American neighbors and citizens,” Munira Syeda, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Tuesday.
“It is also important to remember that as Americans, we need to continue to increase bridge-building and the understanding of our various minorities and those who may not know that much about the Islamic and Muslim faith. Mosques are American houses of worship and the Muslim faith is a positive part of our country. We ask mosque members to remain vigilant and report vandalism incidents to their local authorities right away,” Syeda said.
A similar incident took place on March 19, one month after the mosque opened.
“Luckily no one was here when the incident took place because someone could have been hurt,” Rahman said.
Deputies are investigating the incident.
562-698-0955, ext. 3000
Original post: La Mirada mosque vandalized