Somebody shot dozens of paint balls at the McKinney Islamic Association mosque on Saturday, June 1, and officials with the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations want the attack investigated as a possible hate crime.
"If a bias motive is proven in this case, the perpetrators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, including appropriate hate crime enhancements," DFW council president Amina Rab said in a statement. "Local, state and national leaders should acknowledge the growing Islamophobia in our nation that can lead to such attacks."
The paint ball attack occurred between 11 pm Saturday and 5 am Sunday and left marks on the mosque as well as on a vehicle owned by a member of the congregation. According to the council, young people have verbally harassed worshippers at the McKinney mosque in the past. Local police have stepped up area patrols as a result.
"With the combination of everything, we'd like to err on the side of caution," council spokesman Vilal Khaleeq told CultureMap.
Khaleeq said the council has a history of working with the FBI's hate crime unit to investigate suspicious incidents, and he believes they will assist the McKinney Police Department in the investigation.
The council hopes to curb incidents of violence and intimidation through increased awareness and education. To that end, it recently published Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety, which addresses security guidelines and appropriate responses to bias attacks.