DAYTON — UPDATE @ 5:17 p.m.:
There’s not enough evidence whether or not damage to a Dayton mosque is a hate crime yet, according to police.
However, the department is actively investigating the case and has given it priority, read a press release.
Police ask anyone who recognizes the person in surveillance images or who has information on the incident to reach out to the department.
The FBI is aware of the incident and is in contact with Dayton police, but is not currently part of the investigation.
“If during the course of the local investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal civil rights violation, the FBI is prepared to investigate,” said an FBI representative.
UPDATE @ 12:23 p.m.:
Representatives from the Islamic community addressed concerns about damage at the Al-Rahman Mosque and called on law enforcement to investigate it as a hate crime.
“Anytime that we see a house of worship being physically attacked, especially when it is a minority religious community, then the automatic assumption that you have to start with is that this is a hate crime,” said Karen Dabdoub, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Cincinnati chapter.
The incident, which resulted in multiple windows being smashed during prayer time, is more than just broken glass, said Dabdoub.
“A religious community was attack during their prayer times,” she said. ... “Imagine your own house of worship being attacked this way. It’s a very frightening thing.”
Dabdoub also said that the Islamic community has seen an increase in hate crimes across the country the last few years, citing that mosques have been shot at, burned down and more.
The issue comes back to religious freedom, which is enshrined in the Constitution, she added.
“As a fellow minority group we know that we experience some problems,” said Rabbi Ari Ballaban. “We’re only going to survive with mutual empowerment.”
Ballaban said when he heard about the vandalism at the mosque he knew that it was important to show solidarity.
The Dayton Police Department and Islamic Society of Greater Dayton are seeking the public’s help to identify a vandal who broke several windows at the Al-Rahman Mosque.
The incident was recorded on surveillance video around 5:50 a.m. Feb. 28 at the mosque, 26 Josie St., Dayton police announced today. The vandal used rocks or bricks to break at least three windows.
One person was inside the mosque at the time, but was not injured, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Cincinnati chapter.
“We call on local law enforcement authorities and the FBI to investigate this attack on a house of worship as a hate crime,” said CAIR-Cincinnati Executive Director Karen Dabdoub.
Anyone who recognizes the vandal is urged to call Miami Valley Crime Stoppers at 937-222-STOP (7867).
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