CHICAGO (AP) — Two shots fired from an air rifle damaged a mosque in a northern Chicago suburb, a Muslim civil liberties group said Saturday. No one was injured.
The shots damaged an outer brick wall of the Muslim Education Center in Morton Grove on Friday night shortly after worshippers observing the holy month of Ramadan broke their daily fast. A spokesman for Morton Grove police did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
"This is obviously an alarming situation," said Ahmed Rehab, director of the Chicago branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “The weapon allegedly used in this incident is powerful enough to kill, and the projectiles reportedly came within inches of the head of the security guard on duty.”
The shots were heard by worshippers outside the center, which serves as both a mosque and a school.
"This is a school and a house of worship. … And we are being shot at," said Mohammad Aleemuddin, president of the center. “Community members are terrified, especially children.” The Muslim advocacy group said it believed the shots were fired by someone with a history of opposition to the mosque. It did not elaborate.
The organization’s national headquarters issued a community safety advisory earlier in the week for American mosques after other incidents targeting Muslim houses of worship in Missouri and Rhode Island and after the deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Aug. 5.
In one of those incidents, a mosque in Joplin, Mo., previously targeted by an arsonist burned down. In Southern California, pig legs were left in the driveway of a house used as a place of worship pending construction of a mosque on the site in the city of Ontario — an offensive act because Muslims regard pigs as unclean.
Muslims in Chicago spoke out Friday against comments this week from U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh that they worried could help inspire attacks against mosques.
Walsh, a suburban Chicago Republican, told a town hall meeting on Wednesday that there are radical Muslims in the city’s suburbs and around the country “trying to kill Americans every week.”
OP: This is the mosque my family goes too, the mosque I taught sunday school at and the one where we go for Taraweeh and Eid Salaat. This pains me beyond belief.