Several windows were shot out Sunday at a mosque near the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, an Oklahoma City Muslim leader said Thursday.
Adam Soltani, executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said someone fired a BB gun and shattered two windows at the Stillwater mosque. He said the windows were apparently damaged sometime overnight Sunday and no one was inside the mosque at the time of the vandalism.
Soltani confirmed the vandalism at the Stillwater mosque after Imad Enchassi, imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, spoke about the incident at “An Evening of Listening: Islamophobia” on Wednesday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 127 NW 7.
Enchassi (pictured at left) didn’t go into detail, but he told the forum crowd that leaders at both the Edmond and Stillwater mosques were hesitant about making the information ion to the public about the incidents.
Sunday, Soltani, representing CAIR-OK, shared information about the vandalism at the Edmond mosque with the media. Edmond police reported that pieces of bacon were left in the parking lot and at the entrance of the Islamic Society of Edmond’s mosque. Police said bacon strips were wrapped around door handles at the mosque. Soltani said the vandalism is believed to have happened between 6:30 a.m. and noon.
Soltani (pictured below) said he did not mention the Stillwater incident because, as Enchassi mentioned, leaders at both the mosques were leery about publicizing the vandalism.
Soltani said CAIR-OK wanted to report the incidents to make the community-at-large aware of them and because the organization is calling on state and federal law enforcement to investigate the acts of vandalism as possible hate crimes.
“These are things that people need to be concerned about,” he said.
Soltani said it is specially troubling that both mosques are close to college campuses. He said he was a frequent visitor to the Edmond mosque when he attended the University of Central Oklahoma, and it was a place where he could reconnect with his faith after a day of classes. He said it is specially troubling that both mosques are close to college campuses. Soltani said members of both mosques were concerned about drawing negative attention to their house of worship.
“They don’t want to draw more crazy people to their institutions.”
Meanwhile, Soltani said according to the Islamic faith, Muslims are to refrain from partaking of two things — alcohol and pork, “pork being an unclean meat unfit for consumption.”
“By them (vandals) bringing it to our house of worship, they were obviously trying to offend. Obviously, they know this is something they knew this is something Muslims don’t want to be around,” he said.
Soltani said the pork incident was meant to be offensive although “it’s not like Kryptonite — it’s not going to hurt or harm people or stop people from going to worship.” The BB gun incident was another matter entirely, he said.
“That could have been a physical injury to someone had someone been there.”