Monday, October 18, 2021

Oakland County police say mosque vandalized by white man not a hate crime

Posted By on Mon, Oct 18, 2021 at 10:39 AM

click to enlarge Ryan Lee Ahern, 33, of Rochester Hills, is accused of breaking glass in a door at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center with a hammer. - OAKLAND COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY CENTER
  • Oakland County Sheriff's Office, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center
  • Ryan Lee Ahern, 33, of Rochester Hills, is accused of breaking glass in a door at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center with a hammer.

A man was arrested Friday for allegedly vandalizing a Rochester Hills mosque earlier this month.

Ryan Lee Ahern, 33, of Rochester Hills, is accused of breaking glass in a door at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center with a hammer.



The Oakland County Sheriff's Office says it identified Ahern using surveillance footage, but adds that it does not believe the incident to be a hate crime. Ahern is a person of interest in other acts of vandalism at non-religious locations in the area, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The incident reportedly happened on Oct. 8 as children played inside the center following evening prayers.

"It was not only an attack on the mosque, it was an attack on all places of worship," Imam Shamshad A. Nasir told WDIV-TV.

Nevertheless, the mosque says it doesn't want to press charges.

"We don't want any penalty," Nasir said, adding, "Let us come sit together and build a bridge for friendship."

In September, Metro Times published a letter by Nasir arguing that many people are misinterpreting the meaning of "Sharia Law," which noted that Shariah teaches respect for the beliefs of others.

"The worldwide spiritual leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, says, 'If Muslim countries or terrorist groups perpetrate atrocities or cruelties in the name of Islam, it is because they have disregarded their religious teachings and seek only to fulfill their vested interests,'" the letter read.

Ahern faces misdemeanor charges and up to a year in jail.

In 2016, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission reported that hate incidents spiked in the state following the election of Donald Trump.

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