ARLINGTON A planned book-burning and the controversy over the proposed mosque near ground zero in Manhattan only add to anti-Muslim sentiment, and the members of one North Texas mosque know that first-hand.

The Dar El-Eman Islamic Center in Arlington was the target of a hate crime this summer.

Members of the center celebrated the end of Ramadan Tuesday night, ending a month of fasting. But behind the celebration there remains an air of concern.

The majority feels unsecure coming to worship, said Jamal Qaddura, president of the DFW Isalmic Educational Center.

That sense of security was broken back in July, when someone vandalized a playground at the center with racial slurs and hate graffiti. Two days later, part of the center was set on fire.

The crimes are now part of federal investigation that has both the FBI and Department of Justice looking for answers.

We are trying to find out who exactly did it and for that person to pay his dues to the society, Qaddura said.

Islamic center officials fear the ripple effect of anti-Muslim protests on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks events that include plans by fundamentalist Pastor Terry Jones' Florida church to burn the Quran. Officials at the Arlington mosque have heard that radical groups may also do the same thing in North Texas.

Even though he's claiming under the freedom of speech he can do that, he's actually inciting violence, mob violence, against American Muslims, Qaddura said.

The concern is so great that Islamic center official said they've had to hire off-duty Arlington police officers to act as security guards during worship times.

The White House and Gen. David Petraeus have warned that burning the Koran would misrepresent Americans and could further threaten U.S. troops.

Christian leaders from the Vatican to Southern Baptists along with other evangelical leaders have condemned Jones' plan.


Read or Share this story: