Police On Long Island Say Mosque Vandalism Is Hate Crime

NEW YORK — A message of hate was spray-painted on a Suffolk County mosque and now police are searching for the vandals.

The angry words on the Bay Shore mosque threatened a rising war. It’s believed that someone came over the fence and vandalized the building, police said.

The imam at Masjid Darul Quran Mosque showed CBS 2′s Lou Young the now white-washed spots where the messages were found.

A pair of spray-painted statements that were written apparently referred to the overseas violence against U.S. embassies and consulates by Muslim extremists. They appeared along with an ominous reference to rising war, but the messages were directed against neighbors worshiping peacefully.

Police called it a hate crime.

“This is an attack on the community here in Suffolk County. It tears at the fabric of our community,” said Suffolk County Police Lt. Stephen Hernandez

The overseas violence was condemned repeatedly from the pulpit at the Long Island mosque and the U.S. Libyan ambassador was mourned the very day he died.

So the words especially hurt and the worshipers said they are worried it might not be an isolated incident.

Police Leader’s Evolving Efforts to Defend Surveillance

It was still several hours before Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly was to meet with Muslim leaders whom he had invited to Police Headquarters on Tuesday. But the meeting was already drawing criticism, underscoring how precarious the commissioner’s scattershot style of aggressively defending his department’s counterterrorism efforts could be.

The closed-door meeting between Mr. Kelly and a half-dozen Muslim leaders was only the latest example of his attempts to manage the imbroglio. It has centered on the Police Department’s surveillance of Muslim communities in New York City and beyond, in places like New Jersey and Long Island, as well as its tracking of the Web sites of Muslim student organizations at colleges across the Northeast.

Muslim community leaders — some who were invited to the hourlong meeting and some who were not — laced into Mr. Kelly’s efforts, particularly over what they saw as his ploy to sidestep controversy by selecting the participants and meeting privately.

But the meeting also reflected an overall strategy that has been evolving for three weeks, even before a new round of revelations about the department’s monitoring and mapping of Muslims was disclosed in the latest of a series of articles by The Associated Press.

Between Black and Immigrant Muslims, an Uneasy Alliance

Under the glistening dome of a mosque on Long Island, hundreds of men sat cross-legged on the floor. Many were doctors and engineers born in Pakistan and India. Dressed in khakis, polo shirts and the odd silk tunic, they fidgeted and whispered.

One thing stood between them and dinner: A visitor from Harlem was coming to ask for money.

A towering black man with a gray-flecked beard finally swept into the room, his bodyguard trailing him. Wearing a long, embroidered robe and matching hat, he took the microphone and began talking about a different group of Muslims, the thousands of African-Americans who have found Islam in prison.

“We are all brothers and sisters,” said the visitor, known as Imam Talib.

One thing stood between them and dinner: A visitor from Harlem was coming to ask for money.
A towering black man with a gray-flecked beard finally swept into the room, his bodyguard trailing him. Wearing a long, embroidered robe and matching hat, he took the microphone and began talking about a different group of Muslims, the thousands of African-Americans who have found Islam in prison.

“We are all brothers and sisters,” said the visitor, known as Imam Talib.

Protesting Hearings on Muslim Extremism: “Today I am a Muslim too”

In advance of Thursday’s Congressional hearings on homegrown terrorism, hundreds protested in Times Square on Sunday, as a Long Island congressman dealt with a political firestorm over his specific focus on Muslims for the hearings.

Many protesters held signs reading “Today I am a Muslim too” at a rainy protest to voice concerns that Representative Peter T. King, a Republican, is unfairly singling out Muslims in his hearings, as well as in interviews in Washington over the weekend.

Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a founder of a project to develop an Islamic community center near ground zero, spoke at the protests.

Speed-Dating, Muslim Style

The ultimate oxymoron: Islamic matrimony speed dating. It is a twice-yearly conclave started in 2007 by a Pakistani-American financial adviser from Long Island who was tired of being asked by Muslim clients if he knew anyone suitable for their children.

“It’s a combination of East and West,” said the organizer, Jamal Mohsin. He was inspired by an article in Newsweek about Jdate.com, a Jewish online dating service, which also arranges face-to-face events for singles. “Back in Pakistan, everything is arranged. Here, on the other extreme, individuals pick everything and parents, who raised you, aren’t involved. So I’ve created an event with both of these extremes. I’ve kept parents in the loop so they feel involved–at the same time, its speed dating. We’re being American. ” In Pakistan — and in parts of the Pakistani-American community — it is often said that you don’t marry a person, but their family.

This entrepreneurial idea has had its share of criticism, from conservative religious leaders, who pleaded with Mr. Mohsin to use teleconferencing, so men and women would meet via video chat, not in person. One of his friends condemned his events, calling them “an American-style meat-market.”

Muslim Pilgrimage Spurs Screeners’ Training

A month after the removal of six imams from a U.S. Airways flight spurred accusations of harassment, the federal government has given airport security trainers cultural awareness training about the Islamic pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. This year, an estimated 16,000 American Muslims are making the annual pilgrimage, called the hajj – including several hundred from Long Island. The grueling, five-day ritual, which began yesterday, is a religious duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.