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Man arrested after Qur’an damaged at Arizona University

28th Jan 2022

Elham Asaad Buaras

A 38-year-old homeless man was arrested in Arizona on December 9 for damaging Islamic literature and a copy of the Qur’an at a university library.

Police are investigating a motive for damage at Arizona State University’s Hayden Library’s interfaith room the previous day.

The association said in a statement the room “is largely used by Muslim students gathering for prayer and is a well-known place for students to find a few moments (of) peace and reflection on campus.”

According to court records and a statement from ASU police officers arrested the man after a witness observed him destroy several magazines and books and reported it to library staff. He was linked to the earlier damage to the Islamic materials through surveillance footage.

Authorities determined the suspect had outstanding felony and misdemeanour warrants and had a trespass warning to stay away from the ASU campus through 2022. He was arrested on the warrants and drug possession charges for a glass pipe and methamphetamine they say he was carrying, according to court records.

“There is no room or tolerance at ASU for this type of damaging behaviour,” ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson said in a statement.

Sasha Uddin, Director of Education for the ASU Muslim Students Association, said police took the incident seriously and acted quickly, pledged to handle the damaged Qur’an -respectfully and said they would continue discussions about the safety of Muslims on campus.

“I cannot stop hate crime from happening or any sort of backlash from happening, but knowing the faculty and the ASU police will do what’s necessary for me to get any justice that’s needed makes me feel pretty safe,” Uddin said.

Arizona law does not have a hate crime category for investigations, but authorities can consider prejudicial motivations as an aggravating factor, said Adam Wolfe, a spokesman for ASU police. “At this stage, we still don´t know the motives behind this incident,” Wolfe said.

He said educational aids were “heavily damaged” including books, magazines and a Qur’an, along with library infrastructure.

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