In the month of February, the Muslim community in Maryland witnessed two break-ins in their Islamic Centers— the Islamic Center of Maryland and the Islamic Society of Washington Area (ISWA).
Cameras caught a person in alight colored hoodie and black gloves going through drawers and other items in the office of ICM in Gaithersburg. Nothing was stolen from the office.
ICM released an official statement and turned the surveillance video over to the police.
The Muslim Link spoke to Imtiaz Mohiuddin, Board of Trustees at ICM, who was waiting for the police investigation to be completed. He describes that on Sunday, February 5th, 2017, he along with Samer Qorom discovered the locks of the ICM office broken into. The break in occurred at 10:08 pm on Saturday.
The board has several concerns about how the intruder received access to the building after it was locked post Isha salah. Mohiuddin stated that they had tried to be as transparent as possible with the ICM community without causing panic in an already heightened state of fear post election. They are taking the incident very seriously and have informed county officials.
The Council on Islamic Relations offered a reward of a $1000 for more information about the incident at the Islamic Center of Maryland. “We hope this reward will help lead to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator and perhaps uncover a motive for the break-in,” said Zainab Chaudry, outreach manager of CAIR. “We urge local law enforcement authorities to conduct a swift and thorough investigation.”
The robbery at ISWA resulted in a loss of an undisclosed amount according to the treasurer of the institute.
“It behooves us to be extra vigilant in these trying days and ensure our security systems are reinforced. I recommend your communities have a discussion with your leadership about what being vigilant means and how we can all do our part to keep our families safe,” stated Parvez Khan, a non profit consultant who runs Sage Consulting Services, in an email to the DMV community leaders.
In September 2016, the Islamic Community Center of Laurel was damaged by a white tractor-trailer, caught on surveillance video backing into the building late at night— not once but twice. No one was inside at the time and no injuries were reported but $10,000 worth of damage was caused to the building and awnings. The perpetrator who left the scene was not caught, even though it was investigated as a hate crime, but police removed the designation after the criminal was identified.
All these incidents have had the community on edge and extra vigilant.