On Friday evening, November 12, San Francisco Police Department responded to a call from the Islamic Center of San Francisco. According to the police report, members of the mosque were inside when they heard sounds of glasses being shattered.
Ingleside Station of San Francisco PD responded about 11:49 PM to a vandalism report at the Islamic Center of San Francisco. Located at Crescent Avenue in Bernal Heights, San Francisco, the center is the first mosque established in the Bay Area. It is also the oldest mosque in California.
Police said members of the mosque went to the location where the noise was coming from and saw broken glasses on the floor. "They observed a window that had been broken and a bottle that was inside the building," the police added.
The incident happened during a busy day in the mosque when most members performed their Friday prayers and services. Many people were inside when they heard the sound of shattered glass, leaving pieces of glass on the floor and beer spilling on the carpet.
The incident shakes the community. The mosque has not suffered any kind of attack for a very long time. A 30-year old mosque leader said he's been attending service in the center since he was a child. "I can't remember an incident like this ever taking place," he said.
Shahbaz Shaikh, a religious scholar and one of the Islamic Center of San Francisco board members, said that the community is distressed by the incident. But he believes they needed to be transparent to the community. "We're scared, we were uncertain, we didn't understand what was happening," Shaikh said. "We're a part of this community, we're a part of the Bernal Heights community," he added.
Shaikh also announced that they want to have a dialogue with whoever perpetrated the attack and educate the person "on who we are, and what we represent."
Zuhaib Siddique, another board member, said they are not sure what the person's intent is. "You know, we're scared." Ingleside police station is unable to provide a motive for the action, citing that it is too early in the investigation stage.
A surveillance video shows that the suspect ran away after throwing the bottle. Other members also saw the suspect leave the scene.
The leaders of the mosque believe that they have had no previous interaction with the suspect. "As a Muslim community, of course, we're always a little scared," Siddique added.
London Breed, the mayor of San Francisco, tweeted her support for the Muslim community. "When any community in San Francisco is attacked, we must stand together, and I stand in solidarity with our Muslim community, "she said.
Vandalism like this is hateful, cowardly and unacceptable. When any community in San Francisco is attacked, we must stand together and I stand in solidarity with our Muslim community. Those responsible must be held accountable. https://t.co/yURAMn8Ip3
— London Breed (@LondonBreed) November 15, 2021