Police investigate report of pellet fired at Chicago-area mosque

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 11, 2012 9:29 PM
Police investigate report of pellet fired at Chicago-area mosque

(Reuters) - Police were investigating a report that a pellet from an air rifle was fired at a Chicago-area mosque, in what an Islamic group described on Saturday as a disturbing act of violence.

Officers went to the Muslim Education Center to investigate a complaint that a projectile hit the building in the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove on Friday night, Morton Grove police Chief Mark Erickson told Reuters in a phone interview.

A security guard heard a projectile hit the outside wall of the mosque and police who responded were told pellets had previously been fired through the windows of the center, Erickson said.

"It's important to note that no injuries were reported from any of these incidents," he said.

Police declined to immediately say if anyone had been arrested in connection with the incident. The Cook County State Attorney's Office is participating in the investigation, Erickson said.

The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said on Saturday that worshippers had heard shots fired at the building on Friday night.

"We are gravely concerned that we are seeing the rising level of Islamophobic rhetoric in our society translate into violent behavior," CAIR-Chicago executive director Ahmed Rehab said in a statement.

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Islamic institutions seeking to open in some parts of the United States in recent years have faced local opposition that Muslim groups and civil rights advocates have decried as dangerous examples of religious intolerance.

In Tennessee on Friday, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro opened to prayer services after a two-year fight that saw opposition to the mosque become a surprise issue in a Tennessee Republican Congressional primary.

(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Dan Whitcomb)