The Council on American-Islamic Relations just sent word of that a handful of incidents at the Dar El-Eman Islamic Center in on Mansfield Road in Arlington in recent days have sparked an investigation involving the Arlington Police Department and the FBI. Says the release, on Sunday someone set its playground on fire -- just two days after "obscene anti-Muslim graffiti was discovered in the mosque's parking lot." According to the release, on Sunday racial slurs were also "shouted at worshippers" entering the mosque.
Tiara Ellis Richard, APD's media relations coordinator, was unavailable for comment. But the FBI's Dallas spokesman, Mark White, says the bureau is "aware of the incidents, and we, along with the Arlington PD, are looking into it." White hadn't seen the release when he spoke with Unfair Park; I read it to him, and while he said he was unaware of slurs being shouted at worshipers, "how they characterize the first two incidents is accurate." Attempts to reach someone at the Dar El-Eman Islamic Center were unsuccessful; all I got was a recording listing upcoming events.
Update at 12:30 p.m.: Tiara Ellis Richard of the Arlington PD just sent a news release detailing the first two incidents and confirming the department's joint investigation with the FBI. Says the release, which is in full on the other side, "Police have not yet determined whether these two incidents are related, but are investigating that possibility."
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Arlington Police Department News Release
Arlington Police Officers are investigating two incidents that occurred this past weekend at an Arlington mosque. Officers responded to the 5500 block of Mansfield Road regarding a possible criminal mischief incident on July 23, 2010. Graffiti depicting explicit images was spray-painted on the parking lot of the Dar El-Eman Islamic Center. The second incident occurred on July 25, 2010, at approximately 1:00 a.m. involving a fire at the playground. When officers arrived, the fire appeared to have burned itself out but there was extensive damage to the playground and equipment. Arson is suspected. Police have not yet determined whether these two incidents are related, but are investigating that possibility.
Officers are investigating leads for a possible suspect and suspect vehicle, and ask anyone in the public if they have any information to please call the Arlington Police Department at 817 459-6640.
The Arlington Police Department and Arlington Fire Department Arson Investigators are looking into this incident with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agencies are actively looking into these occurrences and if there is any indication that a crime was committed based on race and/or religion that will be taken into consideration when presenting the case to the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office.