Police: Vandalized Cars At Falls Church Mosque Not a Hate Crime

Fairfax County commander says he does "not want fear in our community," plans to investigate

Fairfax County police don’t believe around the mosque in Falls Church early Saturday morning were hate crimes.

Capt. Gun Lee, commander of the Mason District police station, said several vehicles between Seven Corners and Bailey’s Crossroads were vandalized between Friday night and Saturday morning. Lee said the incidents happened in a seven-mile radius.

“It is very difficult, if not impossible, to say the mosque was targeted,” Lee said.

Johari Abdul-Malik, an Imam at the mosque, said several vehicles, including his own, had windows broken out. The damage was first noticed after sunrise, when several members of the mosque were leaving a prayer service.

Abdul-Malik said the senior Imam at the mosque, who lives across the street, was out around 2:30 a.m. and didn’t see any damage.

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., said his organization is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the individuals involved in the melee.

Dozens of people from an assortment of religious and ethnic backgrounds gathered in front of the mosque in a show of solidarity on Saturday night. Abdul-Malik told the group to continue working together to forge relationships in the community.

“Although there are international concerns, we believe this incident isn’t a backlash from that,” Abdul-Malik said. “Some people in this community fear this could cause some animosity.”

Awad said he hopes the act of vandalism wasn’t a hate crime. He said the crimes would not be tolerated in the community.

“We cannot pretend there is not tension in the Middle East,” Awad said. “We do not need that tension to come here.”

According to the Boston Globe, Al-Qaida’s most active branch in the Middle East called for more attacks on U.S. embassies on Saturday. Chris Stevens, the first U.S. ambassador to die in an attack since 1979, was killed in Libya on Sept. 11 with three other Americans.

Kathleen Kline Moore, senior pastor at in Falls Church, said the community is composed of many ethnicities, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds. The community shares many things, she said, one of which is a journey for peace and unity.

“We are indeed a community that seeks to find unity,” she said. “We are a peaceful community.”

Lee urged the community to come forth with information about the crimes. The commander told the crowd they are a team and must work together to get to the bottom of the widespread report of vandalized cars.

“If you see anything or know something, contact me directly,” Lee said. “I do not want fear in our community. We’re going to take action and we’re going to investigate.”

Lee Can be reached at 703-256-8035 ext. 2248.

John Farrell September 16, 2012 at 01:46 AM
How in the world can Capt. Lee make such definite statement ("that it's not a hate crime") so early in the investigation? Many business owners of North African and Middle Eastern descent in Mason district have expressed to me that they perceive themselves to be the target of selective enforcement by police officers under Capt. Lee's command. When I shared these perceptions with then Lt. Lee, he dismissed them out of hand. Is there a blindspot here?
Paul Hahn September 16, 2012 at 03:53 AM
They probably smashed their own windows, as is often the case so they can play the victim role. This has been seen time and time again.
Darkseid September 16, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Let's consider the following before we attack the Fairfax police: - The car windows that were smashed were parked on the STREETS in the neighborhood adjacent to the mosque, NOT "at the mosque" and NOT "on the mosque parking lot". Many who live in the neighborhood (Muslim and non-Muslim) had their windows smashed. Middle easterners do not seem to be the targets here. - There have been similar incidents in the surrounding area. Windows were smashed recently at Baileys Elementary as well, but they did not call a press conference about it (perhaps they should have)
Raibarth September 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Darkseid comment seems to be the most objective and I share his views. Paul Hahn sounds like a prejudice right winger. John Farrell's comment might be as early as the ones fomr Captain Lee. In any case we need to observe and prosecute these things as that is exactly how the Nazis started in Germany and I guess nobody wants something like this again or Mr. Hahn?
Darkseid September 16, 2012 at 01:46 PM
The only thing I find distasteful is that the mosque called a press conference and made it about themselves instead of about the entire community that has experienced these unfortunate incidents. The real issue is that there are some vandals on the loose in the Baileys/Seven Corners communities and we need to solve that problem and not try to make this a proxy for what is happening in other places in the world.
Albert September 17, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Hey Paul Nazism comes from Christianity. Nazis consider themselves good Christians. WHo was responsible for the Crusades? Paul take your ignorant talk back to the slums your from.
Darkseid September 17, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Paul, your language and tone are not only inflammatory but they only make things worse. The point is that most of those whose cars were vandalized were not even Muslim at all and it didn't even happen "at" the mosque as this article states. Let's stop making this story about the mosque and Middle Easterners and make it about what it should be about: the community at large!
Paul Hahn September 17, 2012 at 02:31 AM
I don't know if links are allowed on this site but here goes, from the History Channel. Or is the History Channel "right wing" too? We can't all be wrong. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INlkKq9eRrI
Albert September 17, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Hey Paul, Great Propaganda. Must be a Zionist. There is no one man who speaks for Muslims as a whole. Catholics have the Pope, Protestants don't have any one individual who speaks for them either. Hitler was a Christian but we know he doesn't represent Christianity. ANy man who believes in the killing of others does not represent their faiths, i.e, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. SO Please save your propaganda, for those who are naive, and racists. You could hang out with the KKK, or any other racist group you belong to!
Paul Hahn September 17, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Yes, the "propaganda" from a major news source, must be biased, . . . must be "Zionist". Are you kidding? Now you are calling me a racist? What race is Islam? Please tell me. More Ad hominem attacks, a failure in debate. Like calling someone fat and stupid because you don't like what they are saying. It is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or unrelated belief of the person supporting it. By the way, the KKK hates Jews too! Why would I "hang out" with them?
John Farrell September 17, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Actually, Christian churches were persecuted in Nazi Germany. Many clerics were sent to the death camps. Many Nazis saw themselves as following a new religion.
John Farrell September 17, 2012 at 03:01 AM
The proximity of the vandalism to the mosque rightly implicates, but does not prove, that this was a hate crime. Absent graffiti containing hate speech, the question as to whether it was a hate crime cannot be answered until the perpetrators are apprehended and their Facebook page, blog and other sources reveal their motivation. Since the perpetrators have not been apprehended, we cannot know their motivation.
Andre L. Taylor September 17, 2012 at 10:17 AM
Nope, the article states this was widespread and not just at the mosque. It just so happens the press conference was there. The story states the crimes were between Seven Corners and Bailey's Crossroads.
Darkseid September 17, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Actually Andre, as I understand it, no car "at the mosque" (i.e., on the property of the mosque) was vandalized. Not only cars parked on the streets NEAR (not "at") the mosque were vandalized, but in a wide area going all the way back to Route 50 and even down to Lake Barcroft were hit. My entire point is that this should not be made into an "anti-hate" situation when it should be an anti-vandalism situation. The title of this article implies it only happened "at" the mosque. The problem as I see it is that the mosque called a press conference and (perhaps unintentionally) made this incident about themselves when it was about a much wider area in the community. You are doing a great job here at the Patch Andre, so please don't take this the wrong way. :-)


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