Mere hours after the Chicago Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) expressed fears that recent statements made by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) could make area Muslims a "target," shots were fired at a suburban Chicago mosque.
According to an alert issued by CAIR, two air rifle shots were fired at the outer wall of the Muslim Education Center mosque in Morton Grove Friday evening, while the building was full of worshippers observing Ramadan.
"This last week of Ramadan is the holiest week of the year for Muslims, and the shots were fired at 8:30, a little after sunset, the busiest time of the day when Muslims come to the mosque to break their long day fast and pray together," MEC President Dr. Mohammad Aleemuddin said in a statement released by CAIR.
David Conrad, 51, of Morton Grove was arrested and police seized a high-velocity air rifle in connection with the shooting, Fox News reports. One pellet narrowly missed hitting a security guard stationed at the center, but no one was injured.
Kamran Hussain, Vice President of the Muslim Community Center of Chicago, which owns the facility, told the Chicago Sun-Times that Conrad and the mosque have a history of conflicts. He said Conrad has lived in a home adjacent to the mosque's parking lot for 12 years, and "he's always been a thorn in our side."
Morton Grove Police said in a statement that they were aware of the "sensitive nature of these incidents" and contacted the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office to further the investigative process, Morton Grove Patch reports.
Conrad had been charged with three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class X felony, and one Class 4 felony count of criminal damage to property, CBS Chicago reports. The mosque’s president, Mohammad Aleemuddin, told the station he thinks Conrad should also be charged with a hate crime.
No one was hurt, but the oblong pellet projectiles damaged the wall of the mosque, according to the Chicago Tribune. The mosque has been damaged before, but multiple incidents went unreported, Morton Grove police said in a release.