- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

RICHMOND — Muslims across Virginia reported sporadic vandalism and assaults against their communities after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
Police said an Islamic bookstore in Old Town Alexandria, Va. was vandalized Tuesday night, and officials at two Virginia mosques reported vandalism and threatening phone calls.
They yelled profanities, said Abu Nahidian, director of the Manassas Mosque in Prince William County. Mr. Nahidian said his congregation has been the target of insults and hate messages left on the office answering machine.
"We have some recordings in our tapes that say, 'We hate you so-and-so Muslims, and we hope you die,'" Mr. Nahidian said.
The prime suspect for the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, authorities said, is Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi fugitive whom authorities have blamed for several other assaults.
Mr. Nahidian blames the Muslim backlash on the news media, which he said are portraying all Muslims as extremists. He also said bin Laden is "too weak" to pull off the attacks.
In Old Town Alexandria, Hazim Barakat's Muslim bookstore was vandalized, police said. Mr. Barakat did not open his store on Tuesday, the day of the terrorist attacks, but came in yesterday to find four bricks thrown through his window.
"The bricks were attached with anti-Islamic message of a threatening nature," said Alexandria police spokeswoman Amy Bertsch. She wouldn't describe what they said.
Authorities are investigating the case as a hate crime, she said.
"Alexandria is a very diverse community," she said. "We have looked at what communities and businesses might be affected [by Tuesdays attacks], and we've adjusted our police force."
No one was arrested.
An official at the Masjid William Salaam mosque near Old Dominion University in Norfolk reported receiving at least one death threat since the attack, said mosque Imam Vernon M. Fareed.
In Fairfax County, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society building was vandalized on Tuesday, said the American Muslim Council.
"Area Muslims are naturally concerned," Mr. Fareed said. "We are just as enraged by this attack as the rest of the American public. We are part of the American public."


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