BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Detectives are searching for a vandal who wrote an obscenity on a Florida mosque’s street signs.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that the vandal spray-painted the signs outside the Alamin Islamic Center overnight.
“[Expletive] Islam” and “[Expletive] ISIS,” were spray-painted on the sign.
“When an individual attacks the freedom of worship of muslims, he’s attacking the freedom of worship of all americans,” Ruiz said. “This is a crime against all of us, all of us Floridians, who love our diversity.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations says the mosque’s surveillance cameras recorded a car entering the parking lot about 12:40 a.m. Wednesday. Wilfredo Ruiz, from the council, said an individual got out of the car and painted the signs.
“He stepped out of the car and he graffitied both sides of the sign of the Islamic Center,” Ruiz said,
“The community is afraid, to be honest,” Ruiz said. “This is the second mosque vandalized here.”
In September, Joseph Michael Schreiber intentionally set fire to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, police said. The Pulse nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen, reportedly worshipped at the center. Schreiber has been charged with arson.
Rabbi Barry Silver says members of his congregation joined worshippers at Al Amin this summer to break the fast of the last week of Ramadan.
“My congregates said when they came here it was one of the best experiences they ever had in a religious setting,” Silver said. “They came here and they were welcomed like brothers and sisters with open arms.”
Two August fires at Tampa-area mosques were also ruled to be arson.
“This individual who did this, probably he didn’t know that doctors came to worship, that law enforcement people come to worship here that are muslims,” Ruiz said.
If you have any information about the vandalism, call Palm Beach Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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