Police Seek Two Men Who Vandalized OKC Mosque

Monday, April 29th 2013, 8:12 pm
By: News 9

Vandals strike an Oklahoma City mosque twice, this time with spray paint. The FBI say two men sprayed racial slurs and derogatory symbols on the mosque over the weekend.

Members of the Grand Mosque of Oklahoma City on N.W. 48th Street started washing off the graffiti on Saturday after it happened, but some of the negative images are still visible.

Adam Soltani, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says he was shocked to see vandalism painted there for the second time.

"Now, we're more concerned that this is a direct target in terms of hate crime," said Soltani. "It's more hateful in terms of the language and the imagery that was used."

Pictures of pentagrams and writings that say the n- word, curse words and statements like "Hail Satan" were etched on the front and side of the building early Saturday morning.

"Well, you know it's frustrating for the entire Oklahoma Muslim community to hear about these things," said Soltani. "Because a house of worship is generally intended and seen as a safe haven for people to go to."

Last August, the mosque's surveillance camera caught a car drive up and shoot several paint balls, but no suspects were caught.

This time, the video shows two young men wearing hats spray painting the mosque. Now, detectives are investigating the graffiti as a potential hate crime.

"Well, certainly, it's a concern that they have been targeted once before, in a paint ball incident, but we take these things seriously, and we're going to investigate to see if we can determine what happened," said FBI special agent.

"You know, somebody may have heard something or see something in the video that's familiar to them, and we'd sure appreciate a call from the public."

Soltani says some Muslims feel the vandalism could be in retaliation to the Boston Marathon bombing. Rains says the FBI is not necessarily linking the bombing as a motive.

Mosque Imam Hassan Ahmed says the mosque has received flowers and letters from local churches expressing their sympathy.

"When this does happen, it just kind of breaks your heart," Soltani says. "And you have sort of a tight feeling in your stomach like what's going to happen next?"

If you recognize anyone from the video, the FBI is asking you to call them at (405)-290-7770.