Milpitas mosque vandalized again



by Ian Bauer
June 20, 2006

http://www.themilpitaspost.com/local/ci_3942075

A Milpitas mosque vandalized last month suffered
further damage and a burglary this month.

Milpitas Police Department is classifying the crimes
at Masjid Dar Al-Salaam at 90 Dempsey Road as
vandalism and burglary, though a Muslim organization
believes the incidents should be investigated as hate
crimes.

The latest incident at the mosque, which is located in
a strip mall, took place between midnight and
approximately 5 a.m. June 3.

That night, someone smashed a glass window on the
south side of the building and stole money from
several donation boxes inside the mosque, according to
Milpitas police Detective Pete Prolo.

Due to the police investigation, Prolo wouldn't say
how much was stolen.

"It was a very, very small amount," he said.

Damage to the mosque included a smashed 8-foot by
8-foot window. The cost to replace the window was
unknown, police said.

A previous incident at the mosque that Milpitas police
say was vandalism and not a burglary occurred May 16,
reported at about 5 a.m.

That morning, a member of Masjid Dar Al-Salaam
discovered a side glass door was smashed, with broken
glass strewn on the ground.

No loss was reported. Damage to the door was estimated
at $350.

The incidents at Masjid Dar Al-Salaam have garnered
strong interest from the San Francisco-Bay Area
Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Sameena Usman, a spokesperson for the group, said the
incidents have created an atmosphere of fear among
area Muslims.

"The Muslim community has a fear of being targeted,"
she said, adding Masjid Dar Al-Salaam had been the
victim of a documented hate crime incident a few years
ago.

She said that incident included a mobile home owned by
Masjid Dar Al-Salaam that had been sprayed with
anti-Muslim graffiti about three years ago. Teen
suspects in the case were caught and arrested by
police.

Usman said she is trying to get the Federal Bureau of
Investigation to investigate the mosque incidents as
hate crimes.

She suggested the latest burglary is suspicious.

"In reality, if this was a burglary incident, it would
have been better to go and burglarize the stores
nearby the mosque," Usman said. "It looks a little
fishy. And that's why it should be considered a hate
crime.

"It seems in each attack the damage has escalated. We
need to look at all aspects of this."

Milpitas Police Department is asking for the public's
help. Anyone with information is asked to call
Detective Prolo at 586-2400.v 





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