Local elected officials, residents, religious leaders and worshippers of Beit El-Maqdis Islamic Center, 6202 Sixth Avenue, stand united after a man broke several windows at the Sunset Park mosque.
According to police, on Saturday, November 11 at around 5:20 p.m., surveillance videos caught the suspect, described as an Asian male wearing a black hooded coat, blue jeans and white sneakers, who broke one of the mosque’s outdoor cameras with a hammer, entered the building and broke around four windows.
Cops believe that the suspect is also responsible for destroying property at another mosque. On Saturday, November 11 at around 5:38 p.m., surveillance shows the suspect outside United American Muslim Association of New York, 5911 Eighth Avenue, where he again used a hammer to break the building’s doorbell, knob and mailbox. He then fled eastbound on 59th Street.
On Monday, November 13, during a press conference at the mosque, Borough President Eric Adams and others discussed the incident following a prayer.
“No hammer will shatter our spirit,” he said. “The glass you shatter is only a material but the human spirit has the ability to withstand any signs of hate and come together as one body of all faiths saying we stand together with this mosque, and with the Muslim, Christian, Jewish and all people of this great borough.”
He also encouraged all places of worship to increase security measures.
“I want to encourage all our houses of worship to do what this mosque has done around its security system,” Adams said. “They have an excellent security system where all cameras are pointed towards the street as well as inside the mosque itself. That is so important. We will be sending letters to the number of houses of worship in the borough and ask them to ramp up their security measures such as cameras and individuals inside their house of worship.”
Niam Jawad, who served as the spokesperson for the mosque, praised the work of Deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez and the 72nd Precinct and discussed what the next step would be. “It’s an unfortunate incident but we will stand up against this and we will let the detectives continue this investigation until they find this individual.”
“From what we saw, this guy came intentionally to do damage,” Jawad said. “We were shocked and highly upset. This rarely happens to us. Maybe 12 years ago we had an incident where they stole the donation boxes.”
“It’s unfortunate this is the first press conference I’m attending as councilman-elect, but these are the times we are living in,” said Councilmember-elect for the 43rd Council District Justin Brannan. “Hate doesn’t have a home here. By definition, Brooklyn is a home to everyone from everywhere. Whether it was a mosque or church or synagogue, doesn’t matter. We are united against this hate. We have to crack down on people that might give people a license to hate and come down together in unity to say not here, not now, not ever.”
“It’s sad in this country continues to go after those who are trying to serve the community,” added Assemblymember Felix Ortiz. “This is completely unacceptable and whoever committed this will be brought to justice. “
“This is one family and we are going to stand together,” said Mohammad Razvi, executive director of The Council of People’s Organization, one of the largest Muslim and South Asian organizations serving the borough. “We are not going to allow one individual to divide us or cause any other mischief. My message to the man who did this is you can run but you can’t hide. The NYPD is going to get you.”