August 10, 2018 05:33 PM
It's been almost two weeks since a Maplewood mosque was vandalized. Police say suspects spray-painted inappropriate and vulgar messages on the outside of the Alsalam Mosque.
Mosque leaders are not calling it a hate crime, but police are still investigating it as a crime of bias.
The President of Islamic Institute of Minnesota Alsalam Mosque Amin Kader said families have been praying peacefully at the mosque for more than 20 years. Kader said the name of the mosque means "peace" in English.
When speaking about the incident that occured on July 29, Kader said, "Those people, are not from among our neighbors, and I don't think they know what they are writing against us."
Maplewood police say two people committed a crime against the mosque.
"Some of the images obviously are disturbing and we think do have some sort of an anti-Muslim potential," Maplewood Public Safety Director Scott Nadeau said.
The vandalism happened on the back side of the mosque. Most of the messages were vulgar and graphic. The vandals also left a cross and the words "Jesus saves."
"Those people will be shocked know that we actually believe in that," Kader said. "As Muslims, we do. The message of Jesus saves, yes."
Kader said in the way of Jesus, the people of the mosque will forgive. The cost to repair the damage is $4,000, according to Kader. But he said repayment can be made with something other than money: “God is peace. The best present that anybody can have or give, peace."
Kader continued: "And accordingly, in the way of Jesus, the forgiveness, we have decided to issue this call: Come forward. Own what you have done. Know that you hurt people. Apologize. Clean the mess. And we'll then proceed with the police department to drop the charges."
Chief Nadeau said the Maplewood Police Department will investigate to the fullest extent, but added it will work with the mosque to move forward in a way worshippers and leadership want to heal the offense.
Updated: August 10, 2018 05:33 PM
Created: August 10, 2018 04:15 PM
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