Laurel Police Investigate Possible Hate Crime At Islamic Community Center
Laurel Police are asking for the public’s help to identify a truck that backed into the Islamic Community Center on Contee Road Monday Night. The incident is now being investigated as a possible hate crime.
" Laurel Police were informed of the incident Tuesday morning. It was originally classified as a case of vandalism. Based on new information from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the case has now been reclassified as a possible hate crime, “Police Chief Richard McLaughlin says.
The Council for American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is calling for a federal probe into the incident.
“In light of the hostile political climate impacting the American Muslim community, and because of the spike in hate crimes and threats targeting Muslims and their institutions, we urge federal law enforcement authorities to add their resources to the investigation to help bring the perpetrators to justice and to establish a motive for this disturbing crime,” said CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Dr. Zainab Chaudry.
This is an image of the white tractor trailer that was caught on surveillance video backing into the building at 11 p.m. Monday night. No one was inside at the time and no injuries were reported.
President Ibrahim Zuberi of the Islamic Community Center of Laurel says the damage to the building’s railings and awning will likely top $10,000. He’s hoping someone comes forward and helps police find the person who did this.
“ This mosque has been in here for more than 30 years, “ Zuberi says. “ We have always felt welcome in Laurel. I know the Laurel community and our extended community will not tolerate this. We know the community will come together to try and help identify this truck and figure out why it happened.”
A year ago, a police report was filed after a motorist who angrily confronted worshippers who had just left the Center. The incident, which occurred in the parking lot, was investigated, and eventually the charges were dropped Zuberi says.
Zuberi is urging his community to be extra vigilant, and he says he will be asking local police for extra surveillance, especially on Monday, which is a major Muslim holiday.
“I’ve always felt safe here, I grew up going to this mosque in Laurel and now I am the president here,” Zuberi says. “But with everything that is going on around the country I have told our community to be extra careful.”
If you have any information about the truck you are asked to called the Laurel Police Department at 301-498-0092.
Media inquiries should be directed to Communications Director Audrey Barnes, at 301-725-5300 x2208 or [email protected]