Vandals Scrawl 'Osama Binleden' On Sunrise Mosque

Official Says Vandalism Is Recurring Problem

POSTED: 1:14 pm EDT April 4, 2006
UPDATED: 8:15 pm EDT April 4, 2006

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Members of a South Florida mosque are
calling on local and federal authorities to
investigate what they believe is a hate crime.

The Islamic Center of South Florida reported that
vandals spray-painted the walls of a mosque under
construction in Sunrise with the words "Osama

Altaf Ali, of the Council on American-Islamic
Relations, said the vandalism was discovered on

"When I saw this, I said to myself, 'Here is another
example of the ignorance within our community,'" Ali

Ali said he is asking for additional police patrols
outside Islamic institutions in South Florida.

"Unfortunately, we've seen these kinds of incidents
happen over and over," he said. "Last year we had five
incidents of vandalism at the Islamic center in South
Florida. This year, actually two weeks ago, there was
another incident involving vandalism at the Islamic
center in Hollywood. Vandals spray-painted graffiti on
the walls. So, of course, this is very disturbing to
us because this is a place of worship. I think Muslims
should have the freedoms to express their faith as any
other individuals in this community."

NBC 6's Ari Odzer reported that the center is under
construction and is expected to completed in about
four to six months. It will be one of the largest
Islamic centers in Florida.

Copyright 2006 by All rights reserved.
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rewritten or redistributed.

Vandalism At Sunrise Mosque Feared A Hate Crime
Carey Codd

(CBS4 News) SUNRISE Members of a Sunrise mosque are
asking the public and the FBI to get involved in
investigating an act of vandalism on their building
this week.

Monday, the words 'Osama Binleden' were found
spray-painted on one of the Islamic Center of South
Florida’s walls located at 5457 Northwest 108th Avenue
in Sunrise. An electrical box was also found damaged
at the site of the building, which is still under
construction. Officials believe the vandalism was done
sometime overnight and fear this might be a possible
hate crime.

For this reason the Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR) have become involved and are publicly
requesting that federal and local agencies get
involved in investigating this as a possible hate

"The nature of the graffiti in this incident would
seem to indicate the possibility of a bias motive,"
said CAIR-FL Executive Director Altaf Ali. "We urge
the FBI to assist local law enforcement authorities in
resolving this case and assuring the security of
Florida Muslims."

CAIR is also asking for increased police patrols
outside Islamic institutions in South Florida.

Two weeks ago vandals also drew unintelligible
graffiti on an exterior wall at the Darul-Uloon
Islamic Center in Hollywood.

Members will be having a meeting tonight outside the

Daniel Lastra, CBS4.COM

(© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Mosque defacing part of ongoing hate spree
Vandalism at a Muslim center under construction in
Sunrise points up threats to minority religions in
South Florida.

The weekend defacing of a Muslim prayer hall and a new
audit of hate crimes against Jews brought into relief
the continuing threats against Muslim and Jewish
houses of worship in South Florida.

On Sunday, volunteers for the Islamic Center of South
Florida discovered that vandals had sprayed the words
''Osama BinLeden'' in yellow paint on a wall of their
new school, gymnasium and prayer hall, which are under
construction in the 5400 block of Northwest 108th
Avenue in Sunrise.

''Incidents like this aren't going to stop us,'' said
Syed Rahman, a spokesperson for the center. ``If
anything, this will underscore the importance of
reaching out to the different religious communities so
that we all come together to denounce acts of hate.''

The Anti-Defamation League released an audit on
Wednesday indicating that hate crimes against Jews
increased statewide last year, from 173 in 2004 to 199
in 2005.

In Weston alone, between January 2005 and March 2006,
a dozen bomb threats were made to synagogues,
according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

One temple director contacted by The Miami Herald, who
asked that his name not be published, said a school at
his synagogue regularly conducts bomb drills.

''There are religious customs,'' said Andrew
Rosenkranz, the Anti-Defamation League's Florida
regional director. ``Unfortunately, in the world today
there is another custom -- and it's security. Everyone
has got to do it.''


At least five incidents of vandalism in South Florida
involved mosques or places of Muslim worship last
year, said Altaf Ali, of Pembroke Pines.

The 41-year-old is the Florida director of the Council
on American-Islamic Relations. Founded in 1994, the
national organization monitors hate crimes against
Muslims, which have been on the rise since Sept. 11.

The Islamic School of Miami was attacked three times
in the spring of 2005, Ali said. Vandals threw a brick
through a glass door -- twice within two weeks.
Someone scrawled a swastika on a sign at the school,
said Ali.

Last fall, rocks were thrown through a glass door and
a window at the Assidiq Islamic Educational Foundation
in Boca Raton. On the front of the mosque, someone
painted ''4 Baker,'' a possible reference to William
Baker, a Holocaust denier who spoke at the mosque in
April 2005.


''What was scary [in the Sunrise incident] is there
were no signs letting people know that this was an
Islamic center, so whoever did this -- they knew this
was a place where Muslims go. . . . They planned, ''
said Ali.

Sunrise police are investigating the vandalism as a
third-degree felony.

Teenagers often rode their mopeds on the 11-acre
private property, despite efforts to keep an entrance
gate locked.

It's unclear if there are witnesses to the crime.

Waseem Quadri, a 50-year-old engineer from Pembroke
Pines who has lived in Florida since 1981, has
overseen the construction project, which began in
March 2005.

''We've been working on this project since 1999,'' he
said, noting that fundraising efforts for the building
slowed after Sept. 11.

In 2004, CAIR received 1,522 reports of discrimination
against Muslims nationwide, compared with 1,019 cases
in 2003.


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