Sacramento Calif, (CBS13) – On the eve of one of the holiest days of the Islamic calendar, law enforcement officials are investigating reports of two possible hate crimes on two local Islamic centers.
On Friday night, pages from the Quran, Islam’s holy text, were ripped out and thrown at the Islamic Center of Davis by a passing van.
And on Saturday afternoon, a burned Quran stuffed with bacon was found handcuffed to a fence at Masjid An-Nur in South Sacramento, the largest mosque in the Sacramento area.
“It’s unfortunate, but unfortunately these types of incidents have been taking place and will continue to take place as long as there is this political rhetoric directed at Muslim,” said Basim ElKarra with Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The South Sacramento mosque has been busy this month as Muslims celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The mosque also operates a full-time school.
The increase in hate crimes is raising concerns.
“People are concerned, they are not letting down their guard,” explained ElKarra.
This is the sixth attack on a local Islamic center in the past six months, not to mention the anti-Shariah march from two weeks ago.
Along with the burned Quran found Saturday in South Sacramento, a Stockton mosque received a hate letter in December of 2016. In February, a Roseville mosque was vandalized. And in Davis, there have been three incidents. Like Stockton, they also received a hate letter. In January, the center was vandalized. And Friday night, there were the pages from the Quran thrown at the mosque.
“The Quran is very holy to Muslims, so when they saw it out, they started to collect the pages and to get it off the ground as a of respect,” said ElKarra
“It’s happening way too often… To be targeted like that because of your faith is unacceptable,” said Sgt. Tony Turnbull with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department. He called the incident “ignorant” and an attempt to instill fear in the Muslim community.
Turnbull says because of increasing number of attacks on the local Muslim community, this incident has been reported to the FBI and the regional terrorism assessment center.
“That’s important for these types of incidents, to see if there are connected if there is a similar person or group. Those intelligence units need to know that as well as the local agencies that investigate the crime,” explained Sgt. Turnbull.
As the month of Ramadan comes to end Saturday night, the concern shifts to Sunday morning when several thousand local Muslims will gather to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, the second most important holiday of the Islamic calendar – second to Eid-ul-Adha, which marks the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca, or the Hajj.
Law enforcement would not elaborate but did say special plans are in place, including extra security and patrols, as Muslims congregate at various locals to pray and celebrate.
No arrests have been made in either case.