Assadiq Islamic Center scrawled with name of hosted neo Nazi speaker while prosecution is vowed "irregardless of a person's faith"
September 16, 2005
Vandalism at a Muslim education center in east Boca is being classified as a ‘hate crime."
On two occasions – Aug. 25 and last Monday night – vandals threw large rocks through glass doors of the Assidiq Islamic Education Foundation on East Palmetto Park Road a few blocks from State Road A1A.
On one occasion, someone used red spray paint to plaster "4Baker" on the side of the building. Sayed Mohammad Jawad Qazwini, the imam, or religious leader at the education center, said it was an apparent reference to a speaker whose appearance at an AIEF-sponsored event earlier this year sparked protests from local anti-Muslim extremists.
A contingent of law enforcement and interfaith religious leaders gathered at the center Thursday to decry the incident and to call for full prosecution of the perpetrators.
Boca Raton Police Chief Andrew Scott said the purpose of the conference was "to condemn the act of vandalism and to show that these acts, regardless of the person's faith, will not be tolerated."
Scott said he has contacted the FBI to assist with the investigation.
The crowd Thursday gathered in the small Muslim education center where large holes are still visible in two of the doors. The rocks that smashed the glass were found on the floor by a secretary when she arrived Tuesday morning. The force damaged the Venetian blinds on the doors.
Bill Gralnick, southeast regional director of the American Jewish Congress, was on hand Thursday to say the organization "supports the prosecution" of the perpetrators.
No clues to the identity of the vandals have been found, the imam said.
Officer Lori Croy of BRPD, the crime prevention officer, said she came to "assess the security risk" of the building. She said the vandals did not get inside the structure.
She said the incident appears to be "more than a random act by juveniles."
Imam Qazwini said he came to Boca two years ago from California and started the education center. He said he lectures and conducts services, some of which draw as many as 100 people or more.
Dale M. King can be reached at 561-549-0832 or at [email protected]