FBI investigating vandalism at mosque
by Shaka S. Lias
Apr 15, 2011 | 6274 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Islamic Center of Cartersville near Merchants Square was vandalized Monday night when several glass doors were shattered. This is the second time in about three weeks the center has been vandalized. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
The Islamic Center of Cartersville near Merchants Square was vandalized Monday night when several glass doors were shattered. This is the second time in about three weeks the center has been vandalized. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Members of the Muslim community are concerned that their place of worship has been the target of an apparent hate crime for the second time in less than a month.

The Islamic Center of Cartersville was vandalized earlier this week, according to a Bartow County Sheriff's Department incident report. Deputies were dispatched to 71 Maple Ridge Drive Tuesday morning shortly after Bilal Mahmood reported the damages.

Mahmood told the deputy he was the last person at the center Monday night and everything was intact.

When he returned Tuesday at 6:30, he saw three front glass entrance doors with large holes in them. He also saw one window pane on the front of the building with a large hole.

"Bilal allowed me to enter into the building where I retrieved four large rocks that were used to damage the window and doors," the deputy wrote in the report.

Amjad Tausique worships at the mosque and helped start that location; he said he's very concerned.

"We've been working and reaching out in the community for a long time," he said. Tausique said Muslims have been in the city for close to 40 years.

"We are tax-paying, peaceful, law-abiding citizens," he said. "It's totally not right for someone to come and destroy the place of worship."

The center was also vandalized in March, and BCSO investigator Jonathan Rogers said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is handling the case and have leads.

Besides the damages to the door and windows, Tausique said nothing was stolen. During the last vandalism, a stink bomb was thrown into the building, which Tausique said smelled for days.

Meanwhile, security cameras were installed and an extra patrol in the area at nights was requested.

Tausique said they just want to be treated like everyone else in the community. "We have families like anyone else, kids in school, jobs and business," he said.

According to Tausique, the center has a regular feeding program at a children's shelter in the Emerson area.

At the Islamic Center there is no actual membership number, but Tausique there is a large number that participates in their Friday Jumu'ah prayer.

"Just because we are Muslim and we worship one God, doesn't mean we're not American," Tausique said.