[Altaf Ali is Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Pembroke Pines]

A desecration of a place of worship is an attack against all faiths and warrants repudiation from people of conscience and from our elected officials.

Over the course of years, many mosques and Islamic schools were vandalized and desecrated. More alarming was a plot to destroy more than fifty mosques in Florida.

In South Florida, the most recent vandalism occurred at Nur Ul Islam Academy in Cooper City. A powdery white substance was spread all over the school. Fire-rescue officials indicated the powder was not believed to be toxic. Although this is welcome news, the reality is that if the powder were toxic, then a catastrophic event would have taken place at a facility that caters to hundreds of school-aged children.

In the past few years, numerous mosques in South Florida have been vandalized, some several times. This alarming trend needs to be curtailed. One way is for religious leaders and public officials to publicly denounce these acts of hate against a place of worship and as such, prosecute the offenders with the charge of hate crime.

The vandalism and desecration at any place of worship disrupts the tranquility and safety within and leaves the community feeling alienated and disconsolate.

It is important that people of conscience speak out against acts of hate perpetrated against places of worship. It’s one way for the affected to feel supported.


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