MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The FBI is continuing to investigate an apparent anti-Islam incident at a Mosque in South Meriden. Bullets pierced the walls of the Mosque on Main Street early Saturday morning just hours after ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris.
By one estimate there are about 100,000 Muslims in Connecticut; about 20,000 each in the Greater New Haven, Waterbury and Hartford areas. What’s happened to one Muslim community is especially shocking.
You don’t have to be a forensics expert to figure out that the bullet holes in the Ahlmadiyya Community Mosque in South Meriden were made by a high powered weapon. Four bullets hit the building. Three of them piercing the wall in the prayer area. Bullets traveling at such velocity that they went through the outside wall, and an inside wall, and out through a third wall into the parking lot.
The bullets passed through a worshiping place for as many as 250 Muslims with the largest prayer time on Friday afternoons. It appears that the bullets were fired at the building early Saturday morning, long after prayers, but not long after ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris.
“It’s alarming and it’s a show that there’s good people everywhere, but there’s also ignorant people everywhere as well,” said Imam Hamid Malik.
Despite the disturbing image of a prayer space cordoned off by police tape because of bullet holes, the Imam is forgiving. He says he has been assured the FBI will be done with their examination in time for prayers on Friday. He is inviting the public then and to an open house on Saturday saying, “I just wish that person that fired those shots would just come and visit us and talk to us and would realize what true Islam is.”
Dr. Reza Mansoor is President of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford and says there have been reported threats at Mosques in Massachusetts, Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Ohio and Ontario. Some kids are reporting harassment here.
“What we’ve heard is that there’s been some kind of taunts and comments with some of the Muslim kids, mostly middle school kids,” said Mansoor.
Dr. Mansoor says there is no doubt that ISIS is inflaming Islamophobia everywhere but that it is important for everyone to realize that “ISIS in no way represents Islam.”