Leaders of Vandalized Omaha Mosque Issue Statement

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The Islamic Center of Omaha said Monday someone spray-painted an outline of the Eiffel Tower inside a peace symbol on an outside wall of the mosque.

The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on authorities to investigate what it calls a possible hate crime related to the terror attacks in Paris.

"The FBI and local law enforcement authorities should investigate the possible bias motive for this vandalism and allocate whatever resources are necessary to bring the perpetrator to justice,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

CAIR said it's the third recent incident of vandalism at the center near North 73rd and Pinkney streets. On October 29th, a security camera recorded the image of a masked man unsuccessfully trying to break the glass in an outside door and on August 23rd, someone threw a 40-pound boulder through the glass.

Islamic Center of Omaha (ICO) released the following statement Monday:

Islamic Center of Omaha (ICO), on behalf of the Omaha Muslim Community, repudiates the actions of terrorist organizations using the banner of Islam.

These organizations have committed appalling crimes against humanity, which are un-Islamic and morally repugnant. Islam does not condone abuse of women and children, innocent civilians, or desecration of houses of worship. We condemn the terrible actions of ISIS, Boko Haram, and similar organizations. We reject their assertion that all Muslims must pay allegiance to their leaders. Furthermore, we encourage our congregants to speak out against terrorist organizations and their deviant ideologies.

The actions of terrorist organizations are contrary to the teachings of the Qur’an that instruct the Muslim community to preserve and respect lives. Murder is strictly forbidden in the Qur’an. “...and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully. (Qur’an, 6:151)”“Whosoever kill a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as though he had killed all of mankind, and whoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. (Qur’an, 5:32)” It is forbidden for Muslims to coerce individuals and communities to adopt Islam. “There is no compulsion in religion. The right way has become distinct from error. (Qur’an, 2:256)”

ICO is also apprehensive of the spread of Islamophobia. When individuals feel threatened, when groups receive negative labels, and when an entire population is demonized, free and open exchange of ideas become impossible and democratic rights of people are violated.

We, therefore, oppose hate speech, and believe that it has no place in our society. Moreover, we encourage inclusion, diversity, respect, religious freedom and open exchange of ideas as our faith professes.