March 25, 2014 (ORLAND PARK, Ill.) (WLS) — Someone fired a shot through the dome of an Orland Park mosque early Tuesday morning.
It took place around 6 a.m. Tuesday at the Prayer Center of Orland Park during the first prayer service of the day. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says a single shot was fired at the dome of the mosque, leaving two holes, an entrance mark and another mark where the bullet apparently lodged.
“People were scared. They did not know if was going to be followed with another one or not,” said Imam Nazir Chahin, Orland Park Prayer Center.
At the Orland Park Prayer Center Tuesday night, services went on as scheduled with many congregants reflecting on what occurred at their house of worship.
“Just thinking about what was going on, what happened, hoping it doesn’t happen again, praying to God that it doesn’t,” said Muhamad Farraj, congregant.
CAIR says Orland Park police have been notified and asked to increased patrols. The group in also calling on the FBI to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.
“Had it been aimed lower and gone through a window, I personally believe it could have killed someone, if not injured them very seriously. So that is not lost of anyone and is much cause for concern, and fear, really,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director, CAIR.
“We need to take these incidents very seriously and that is why we wanted to emphasize for all authorities involved, whether local police or FBI, to look through all the possibilities,” said Agnieszka Karoluk, senior communications coordinator, CAIR.
Orland Park police say they’ve increased patrols around the prayer center as Muslim groups appeal to the FBI to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.
Police are now looking at surveillance video from outside the mosque, though the angle of the two holes suggest the apparent bullet was fired from on high at a distance.
“It looks from the effect of the bullet that it could be a high-powered rifle,” said Rehab.
“I can’t ever understand how would anyone try to interrupt a prayer, a service prayer, regardless of the religion and the congregation,” said Chahin.
The Imam here says the mosque has received hate mail in recent months, but this type of incident is a first. In addition to the increased police patrols, the mosque is stepping up its own security.
(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)