Rocks Thrown, Windows Broken In Possible Hate Crime
9:54 AM, Oct 11, 2007
The Kern County Sheriffs Department is investigating a possible hate crime against the Islamic Center of San Joaquin Valley last Saturday morning during worship prayers.
Witnesses said two men entered the 701 Ming Ave. mosque at about 2 a.m. on Saturday and disrupted the all-night prayer service that was celebrating the month of Ramadan.According to witnesses, two Hispanic males, who may have been intoxicated, entered the mosque, ate the mosque's food and argued with worshippers after being asked to leave.Kern County Sheriff's Department said the two men eventually left the mosque. When Sheriff's deputies arrived after 5 a.m., they could not find the men, who had fled.Shortly after the Sheriff's deputies left, a Sheriff's Department report said the two men returned with a group of possibly as many as fifteen men.According to the report, men confronted members from the mosque outside and yelled ethnic slurs. Witnesses claimed the men yelled, Go home terrorists! and Arab terrorists!
According to the report, the men also broke windows and slashed tires on several cars, then threw rocks at worshippers.Witnesses said three people were hurt. The Sheriff Department report said two mosque members suffered minor injuries.Sheriffs deputies said they saw people throwing rocks, but werent able to catch anyone.The Sheriff's department is now investigating this as a hate crime and is searching for 10-15 Hispanic males between 16 and 20 years old. The case has also been reported to the FBI.The mosque was not damaged.At today's press conference the Council on American-Islamic Relations thanked authorities for their quick response to the incident, while one of the mosque's representatives insisted the attack was not a hate crime.If you have information on the suspects you are asked to call the Kern County Sheriff's Department at 1.661.861.3110ABC23 will continue to update this story as it develops.
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