Handmade posters carrying anti-Islamic messages were found less than a day apart at two Valley Islamic locations, prompting the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to seek a hate-crimes investigation.
During afternoon prayers Sunday, around 5 p.m., members of the Islamic Community Center of Tempe found a white poster board at the mosque with messages scrawled in black marker attacking the Prophet Mohammed and Muslims. The 3- by 2-foot sign was taped to a dumpster facing the mosque but was not on its property. No damage was found, Sgt. Dan Masters, a Tempe police spokesman, said in an e-mail.
Members reported the incident to the council and to Tempe police, who took fingerprints and video surveillance tapes from the mosque.
Nure Elatari, communications director for the council, said she was told the videos include images of individuals and a vehicle.
Employees at the council found a similar white poster taped to their office door, 202 E. McDowell Road, at 9 a.m. Monday, Elatari said. The words, transliterated from Arabic into English spelling, distorted a common Islamic prayer about Mohammed into an insult, she said.
Phoenix police have assigned the case to the bias crimes unit and have classified it as a “threat” report, said Detective Tony Morales, Phoenix police spokesman.
“It’s really unfortunate. It’s sad to see such ignorance lingering in the community,” Elatari said. “It only encourages us more to promote tolerance and education.”