The night of Feb. 14, a pair of thieves broke into the Masjid Al-Ham-Du-Lilaah, a Jamaica mosque, by cutting down a plastic screen and kicking in a locked door. Once inside, they broke into and stole from three donation boxes before fleeing through a back gate.
It was at least the seventh time in less than two months that a mosque in Queens had been burglarized.
“These particular types of crimes are very heinous, because they desecrate sacred places,” Imam Charles Bilal said at a press conference Tuesday. “We’re here to add our voice to others in order to ask all citizens of New York who are neighbors of houses of worship to be vigilant.”
Bilal then went on to describe the manner in which his mosque was violated, and admitted that because the coffers are only emptied once a week, they have no way of knowing how much money was taken.
The Omar Ben Abdel-Aziz mosque, in Jamaica, however, knows exactly how much was lost when it was broken into on Feb. 4.
“Between 4 and 5 thousand dollars,” Imam Mohamed Azeem Khan said. “That was money parents donated for the Saturday school program for the maintenance of the children’s madrassa (Islamic school).”
In the case of his mosque, Khan said the burglars took a more subtle tactic, and one that has been used in several of the other suspected robberies.
“I am certain that they came to the Masjid in between the afternoon prayer and the evening prayer, which is between 3 and 5 p.m. and stayed until the night prayer, which is after 7 p.m,” he said. (MORE)