Worshippers making their way to morning prayer found the entryway to the Islamic Center of Delaware vandalized.
The fences to their driveway had been torn down, a wooden sign had been knocked to the ground and an electronic sign was damaged with rocks and possibly mud tossed at it. A cross was fashioned from the debris and placed on the electric sign along Salem Church Road near Newark.
“This is very hard. This is very shocking for us,” said Mahamed Allimulla, president of the Islamic Society of Delaware. “We’re just trying to realize why this happened.”
Allimulla said the damage was done sometime between midnight and 5:30 a.m. today. State police were out investigating the damage this morning. Allimulla said he would be contacting federal authorities as well.
Although police have not commented on the incident, Allimulla said he believes this to be a hate crime and wondered if the people who did the damage had been casing the organization, since Friday is the day of Jumma prayer, drawing about 1,000 people for the afternoon service.
The center also has a pre-K to eighth-grade school, which is causing some concerns to other members. “We are trying to teach our kids to be a very harmonious group,” said Ali Khan, a board member of the Islamic Society of Delaware. “It will have a psychological impact on everybody.” The children will be talked with today about the incident.
Allimulla said he’d like to sit down with the people who performed the cowardly act. “I would like to send a message: you are a loser and you are a failed person and you are a coward person,” he said. “If you had any questions about the Islamic faith come to the table and we would like to talk to you and and we want to explain everything. Islam is a peaceful religion.”
Troopers are conducting an investigation into the criminal mischief that occurred at the Islamic Society. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Troop 6 at (302) 633-5000.
See also “CAIR calls for hate crime probe of Delaware mosque vandalism”, CAIR press release, 25 October 2013