Around the Region: Leaders Speak Out on Muslim Center Attack

Though a Morton Grove man was arrested, those who attend services at MEC are fearful of similar incidences; leader says services will go on normally with strong police presence.

Though the physical damage is minimal after a , the damage to the psyche of those who attend services there has been severe. 

No one was injured during the incident, which occurred as 500 people were inside the mosque attending Ramadan services. 

"In the minds of our people, they are very scared; now when they arrive here they are running into the building as fast as they can, in fear," said Amanadullah Ansari, head of MEC operations.

Ansari said the problems with Conrad, who lives adjacent and east of the MEC, have been ongoing for years.

"This is not the first time we've had problems with him, since we applied for a permit for our school, he has been very vocal against us, he hates us," Ansari said. 

Ansari said Conrad also has called police on numerous occasions complaining about attendees parked near his home on the street and noise made from shutting car doors. 

In addition to the mosque itself, there also is unease regarding the children attending the school connected to it. 

"As a former chairman of the school, I am concerned about the safety of all of the children, including my own daughter who is a student," Rizwan Kadir, a Glenview resident and member of the congregation. 

Previous reports stated law enforcement was investigating the incident to determine if the incident was in fact a hate crime. No information was included about that in a press release from Morton Grove Police Sunday. 

"The words hate crime are strong words, do I feel that there is hate here, yes," Kadir said. 

A bond hearing for Conrad will be held today, and his court date to face the charges against him is tenatively scheduled for Aug. 22. 

The incident comes on the heels of a shooting in Oak Creek, WI. where seven people, including the shooter, were killed on Aug. 5.

"I am hopeful there will come a day when people who do not understand one another's beliefs can come together," Kadir said. 

Ramadan continues through the end of this week, and Ansari said a strong police presence will remain at the mosque during services to protect attendees. 


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