(CHICAGO, IL, 3/25/14) — The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) is calling for an FBI hate crime investigation after a bullet was reportedly fired early this morning at the dome of the Prayer Center of Orland Park (OPPC) in Orland Park, Ill.
A single shot was reportedly fired through the dome of the mosque early this morning (6:05 a.m.) during the Fajr, or break-of-dawn prayer. According to Imam Nazir Chahin, who was leading prayer at the time, the bullet penetrated the dome and caused debris to fall and disrupt the prayer service of the some 40 worshipers. No injuries have been reported.
Orland Park Police were immediately contacted and are currently investigating the shooting.
CAIR-Chicago has contacted the Orland Park Police to request increased security patrols and is asking the FBI to investigate the shooting for a potential bias motive.
“Incidents such as this have a chilling effect on worshippers. No one should have to go to their place of worship worried if they'll make it back home alive,” said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab.
The Orland Park Prayer Center had faced opposition from when it was being built, but in its many years of operation since has been lauded by local officials and interfaith leaders for its positive contributions to the economic and cultural benefit of Orland Park.
“Given the previous attacks on houses of worship, we are reminded that whether it is a mosque, a Gurdwara or a temple, such an attack is not just an assault on the particular faith community it targets, but against all Americans and on our coveted core value of freedom of religion,” said Rehab.
Earlier this month, CAIR called for a similar FBI probe into a shooting targeting a Mississippi mosque.
In 2012 the Muslim community in Illinois experienced multiple incidences of violence including a shooting at the Muslim Education Center mosque in Morton Grove, while 500 worshipers prayed inside, as well as a bottle of acid which hit the College Preparatory School of America during the nighttime Ramadan prayers in Lombard.
The Prayer Center of Orland Park has been organized as an Illinois non-for-profit corporation under the name THE PRAYER CENTER. The Prayer Center has obtained designation from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a charitable, religious, and/or education organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The center was officially opened in June 2006.
In response to previous attacks on American mosques, CAIR published a booklet called “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety” designed to be used by mosque officials, Muslim school administrators and other community leaders and activists who seek to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities to bias-motivated attacks.
To request a free e-copy of CAIR's “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety,” go to: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html
CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
– END –
CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab, firstname.lastname@example.org, 312.212.1520, 202.870.0166 (cell); CAIR-Chicago Senior Communications Coordinator, Agnieszka Karoluk, email@example.com, 312.212.1520, 815.212.2660 (cell)