Indianapolis mosque shot at while worshippers prayed

19th Jun 2020

Nadine Osman

Muslims in Indiana are calling for a hate crime investigation after several shots were fired at a mosque on the city’s north west side while members were inside.

According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), the shooting happened on May 23 in Masjid-E-Noor near the intersection Lafayette Road and West 52nd Street. Surveillance video shows a car driven by as the shots were fired at 9:20 pm.

The footage is blurry, but it’s believed the vehicle is a red sports car.
A handful of worshippers were inside the mosque following a sunset prayer on Eīd al-Fiṭr. The mosque would ordinarily be packed with worshippers at the time of the shooting, but restrictions in place to slow the spread of the Coronavirus prevented a larger gathering.

Faith leaders are asking for the public’s help in identifying the shooter. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, joined the Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network (IMAN) in calling for an investigation of a possible bias motive.

Syed Ali Saeed, President of IMAN said such shootings “have increased recently, with mosques and synagogues being the primary subjects of these hateful crimes.”

“While the Muslim community does not currently have the benefit of any investigation results, we strongly suspect that the violence was motivated by hate and bigotry and urge the IMPD to run a transparent and thorough investigation.

We will not tolerate bigotry in our Hoosier state and will continue to work with our allies to ensure that worshippers in Indiana can practise their faiths safely and peacefully,” Syed Saeed added.

Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates’ Special Counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry, said, “Since the beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan just a few weeks ago, we have seen mosques across the nation targeted by arson and vandalism.

It is especially hurtful that this potential attack in Indiana happened on Eīd al-Fiṭr, one of the most important holidays for Muslims. We urge law enforcement to thoroughly investigate this shooting and determine whether it was motivated by anti-Muslim hate.”

IMPD spokeswoman Officer Genae Cook said the shooting is an active investigation and anyone with information should contact detectives.

Cook said police don’t investigate incidents specifically as a hate crime until a suspect is located and a motive is determined. On April 3, 2019, the Governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb, signed a hate crimes law that gives judges the authority to consider bias on religion and other perceived victim traits as an aggravating factor in sentencing.

The Anti-Defamation League lists Indiana as one of five states, along with Georgia, South Carolina, Wyoming and Arkansas, without hate crimes protections.

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