San Francisco’s Oldest Mosque Attacked – CBS San Francisco

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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Members of the Islamic Center of San Francisco were shaken Friday night when someone damaged the mosque, the city’s oldest mosque. Leaders who serve on the board say it’s rare to see a crime against their place of worship at the corner of Crescent Avenue and Andover Street just north of Alemany Avenue.

“We were afraid, hesitant, we couldn’t understand what was happening because we hadn’t experienced anything like this in our society for a long time,” said Shahbaz Shaikh, a mosque scholar. “We are part of this community, part of the Bernal Heights community.”

mosque destroyed

A vandal broke the window of this San Francisco mosque. (GIS)

San Francisco police said a suspect threw a bottle through the glass window, causing the glass to shatter, and then fled.

Shaikh told KPIX on Sunday that a member of the mosque was approaching the building at the time to return supplies and heard the sound of glass breaking. There was no one in the mosque, where prayers were held all day. Friday is usually a busy day for members to attend services.

“We’re not sure what this person’s intentions are, you know, we’re afraid,” said Zuhaib Siddique, a member of the mosque’s board. “Of course, as a Muslim community, we are always a little afraid.”

Police have not identified a motive for this crime, but said they are investigating the case.

The bottle not only stained the carpet with beer, but also spread glass on the floor. Siddique said they are in the process of ordering a new window to replace the broken one. The mosque will also have an updated security system. Its members have already offered help for the cost, and the neighborhood has voiced its support after learning of the crime.

Surveillance video shows someone fleeing that night, but the footage isn’t clear enough to identify a suspect.

“The community has been shaken and we want to take the time to ask the San Francisco police department to do their due diligence and actually catch this person who committed this act,” Shaikh said. “In this community, they see us not just as Muslim neighbors, but as neighbors and as part of society.”

Siddique told KPIX on Sunday that the mosque dates back to the 1950s and is one of the oldest in California. Members who have prayed here for decades say they do not remember any such crime at the mosque right after 9/11. The mosque is not just a place of worship, it is an important place where families gather for celebrations and funerals.

“It’s a center of worship, a community centre, a home for Muslims, so when there’s such an attack on us, we feel like our home has been attacked,” Shaikh said.

While Cami takes steps to make its members feel safe, leaders also hope the suspect will want to learn more about their community as well as face the consequences of their actions.

“We hope to start more dialogue, we hope the person who did this will one day visit the mosque and sit with us, learn from us,” said Siddique.

Prayers continued at the mosque over the weekend, and members came throughout the Sunday. The staff taped the window for now until it was replaced.

“This is our home for us and we will continue our business as usual,” Shaikh said.