Middletown Islamic Center, Still Under Construction, Hit by Vandalism

August 18, 2006

Source: Times Herald-Record


On August 18, 2006 the Times Herald-Record reported, "For two years, Dr. Quazi al-Tariq reported on the proud but slow progress in building the Middletown Islamic Center and the fantastic support it gets from the community — Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Yesterday, al-Tariq stood, crying, on the balcony of the unfinished, two-story prayer hall filled with light and the smell of raw lumber. Five of the mosque's windows were broken overnight, apparently with rocks. Glass was shattered. So was something in the heart of this project that has always made up in spirit what it has lacked in steady finances. 'We are so peaceful. We have nothing to do with politics,' al-Tariq said. 'It never occurred to me that in this area, where we know everybody, something like this would happen.' Sometime overnight, vandals struck the site on Ryerson Road that bears a sign, 'Islamic Center.' They broke five double-paned windows causing what al-Tariq estimated was close to $6,000 in damage. Rocks that missed their target tore holes in new stucco. State police Capt. Wayne Olson, who supervises investigators in five counties, said the incident was probably not bias related. If that changes, Olson said, 'we would adjust the case accordingly.' The vandalism follows a rash of broken windows in Middletown that police attribute to a band of teens engaging in criminal mischief. But al-Tariq couldn't shake the feeling yesterday, as religious strife has touched much of the world, that bigotry might also have reared its head."