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Police investigating after alcohol was poured on Arizona Islamic center

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Posted at 12:21 PM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 16:31:19-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Tucson police are investigating a complaint that people dumped alcohol on the Islamic Center of Tucson building, as well as cars on the property.

The abstinence of alcohol is a core belief of Muslims, and pouring alcohol on an Islamic place of worship is considered an anti-Islamic slur.

According to Islamic Center of Tucson board member Maria Molina, people standing on the balcony of an apartment building next door were responsible.

"Alcohol-related incidents are a chronic problem for the Center," Molina wrote in an email. "ICT has suffered from vandalism, has been the target of glass bottles being thrown from neighboring apartment buildings, and congregation members have had their windshields smashed by projectiles thrown from the same apartment balconies.

Molina also claims children at the center have been subjected to "racist remarks and obscenities" shouted at them by drunk pedestrians.

"The center is not only a place for peaceful prayer; it is the regular venue for children's classes, activities, and community events. These are frequently held both in and outdoors," Molina said.

The Islamic Center is located less than a mile from the campus of the University of Arizona, and Molina fears that the start of classes at the college could lead to more threats against its members.

"With the start of the new school year at the University of Arizona, we are extremely concerned that lack of attention to this situation will result in an escalation of activity. The situation needs to be rectified before someone is hurt."

The center has faced regular vandalism since 2014. In 2017, a person who was wearing a Univesity of Arizona T-shirt and possibly under the influence broke inrto center and damaged the front door.

This story was originally published by Phil Villarreal on KGUN in Tucson, Arizona.