Vandalism at a mosque in Titusville over the weekend has central Florida’s Muslims calling for an end to Islamophobia. Masjid Al Mumin, one of Brevard County’s four mosques and one of central Florida’s twenty worship centers now needs new cameras, lights, and electrical wiring after a man destroyed the outside with a machete. Part of the incident was captured on video. The suspect left bacon on the door outside according to a Titusville police report.
Florida’s Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, is urging federal officials to call it a hate crime. Orlando Regional Coordinator Rasha Mubarak says it’s the 17th incident that’s taken place across the country in the past two months.
“From post-Paris attacks, Donald Trump’s rhetoric he’s been instilling in everyone, the shooting in California, Islamophobia—it’s real. It’s hitting home here in central Florida.”
She informed 90.7 News of an incident in which two Muslim women had to be escorted to their cars after being harassed outside of a local grocery store; in another incident, a Muslim man was insulted while in his car at a stop light.
Imam Muhammad Musri, head of the Islamic Center of Central Florida that the recently vandalized mosque is a part of, says the number of threats the community has received in-person and through social media has risen.
“Just as the nation’s alert level goes up, similarly we have to fear backlash and often it is translated with more threats, and this is honestly unprecedented.”
Muslims have been requesting more security at the region’s twenty mosques, according to Musri. But Imam Abu Farah of the American Muslim Leadership Council believes public education will ultimately protect the community from future attacks.
“Individuals that have committed acts of hate have been those who knew literally about Islam other than what they hear about in the media,” he says. “The key is an obligation from us as American Muslims to reach out.”
Farah and other Muslim leaders will meet with law enforcement agencies from across the region next month to discuss strategies for preventing indirect and direct attacks against Muslims.