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Leaders Speak Out on Muslim Center Attack

Though a Morton Grove man was arrested, those who attend services at MEC are fearful of similar incidences; leader says services will go on normally with strong police presence.

Though the physical damage is minimal after a , the damage to the psyche of those who attend services there has been severe. 

No one was injured during the incident, which occurred as 500 people were inside the mosque attending Ramadan services. 

"In the minds of our people, they are very scared; now when they arrive here they are running into the building as fast as they can, in fear," said Amanadullah Ansari, head of MEC operations.

Ansari said the problems with Conrad, who lives adjacent and east of the MEC, have been ongoing for years.

"This is not the first time we've had problems with him, since we applied for a permit for our school, he has been very vocal against us, he hates us," Ansari said. 

Ansari said Conrad also has called police on numerous occasions complaining about attendees parked near his home on the street and noise made from shutting car doors. 

In addition to the mosque itself, there also is unease regarding the children attending the school connected to it. 

"As a former chairman of the school, I am concerned about the safety of all of the children, including my own daughter who is a student," Rizwan Kadir, a Glenview resident and member of the congregation. 

Previous reports stated law enforcement was investigating the incident to determine if the incident was in fact a hate crime. No information was included about that in a press release from Morton Grove Police Sunday. 

"The words hate crime are strong words, do I feel that there is hate here, yes," Kadir said. 

A bond hearing for Conrad will be held today, and his court date to face the charges against him is tenatively scheduled for Aug. 22. 

The incident comes on the heels of a shooting in Oak Creek, WI. where seven people, including the shooter, were killed on Aug. 5.

"I am hopeful there will come a day when people who do not understand one another's beliefs can come together," Kadir said. 

Ramadan continues through the end of this week, and Ansari said a strong police presence will remain at the mosque during services to protect attendees. 

sherwin dubren August 14, 2012 at 07:13 AM
What I am hearing from the Mosque people is that this is a religious attack. Knowing David, I would be surprised if that were his motives. It is more likely a dispute between neighbors. We have yet to hear David's side of the storey. As for property values, are those houses emptying out being filled with moslem families who would pay good money to be within walking distance of their mosque? The only winners here are the real estate people that love these turnovers.
Laura Frisch August 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM
We all win when new people want to move into our community. As far as the exodus on my block, all the houses that have been sold in the past, almost decade that we have been here, were because of our dear neighbors passing away, becoming unable to walk the stairs in their homes or retiring to Florida. Unfortunately and strangely, none of those homes have been bought by anyone who attends the mosque, which is in walking distance. I wish more diverse families would move in, it would bring more interesting conversations our block parties! Again, please open your minds and hearts, how would you feel if this happened to your house of worship, or your own home? From what I have read on Patch, the people attending this Mosque have shown forgiveness, let us show them similar compassion.
Janice Cha August 14, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Indeed, the people of Morton Grove do support and celebrate the presence of a mosque in our town. At the Village Council meeting last night, members of Morton Grove's Community Relations Commission read a statement to that effect. The full text of the CRC's statement can be read on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/7WondersOfMortonGrove
Gregg Baker August 15, 2012 at 03:13 AM
I share Laura's concern over the quality of the conversation here. 1. Muslims are not race. Islam is one of the world's oldest religions. If in fact this was a case of discrimination it would be religious, not racial. 2. The application of the "hate crime" statutes are inconsistent at best. Black power groups offer a $10,000 reward for killing of George Zimmerman and that is not a "hate crime." Yet,firing a pellet gun is. 3. Although as some astutely pointed out we have yet to hear the defendants side of the story, if in fact a pellet gun was discharged towards someone, anyone, it is inappropriate, and juvenile at best. Somebody could get their eye shot out. Didn't anyone take the message in "A Christmas Story" seriously? 4. Where is the line on what constitutes the crime? Had the defendant fired a super soaker water rifle would that have evoked the same response? America was partly founded on the concept of religious tolerance. Yet, American history is littered with religious persecution and intolerance. Just ask the Quakers, the Amish, Jews, and more. Was this incident driven by religious persecution? It would be hard for Einstein to answer that question, not because he is dead, but because someone's motives are hard to determine and when we hear from the defendant perhaps we will better understand what happened and why.
Lizzy T August 15, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Thank you for your comments Laura, I too am embarrased and aghast that people like this Sherwin Dubren seems to be saying that's it is acceptible to use a gun to settle a dispute with a neighbor! Oh my good lord, are we back in the wild west again? Gregg Bakker, thank you for reminding everyone here that freedom of religion was a founding issue of our country. Ms. Cha, thank you for being part of commission that show's some common sense and inclusion. We need more voices like all of yours speaking up so we can be one community of tolerant and law abiding citizens. Like Laura Frisch said, Open your hearts and your minds, please for the sake of this entire community!

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