Police respond to harassment reports at Connecticut mosque

Crime

WATERBURY (WTNH) – Police responded to a Connecticut mosque after worshippers reported a man using racial epithets and anti-Muslim slurs and a vehicle with flashing yellow lights followed members’ vehicles.

Police were called to the Masjid Al Mostafa in Waterbury mosque shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday.

It was the second time in as many days that police had been called to the mosque to deal with reports of harassment.

It’s the holy month of Ramadan. Meaning Muslims are showing up in large numbers for daily prayers. At the Masjid Al Mustafa on Waterbury’s East End, solemn worship is being interrupted.

“They’ve been intimidating members,” said Naveed Khan, a mosque member. “Racial slurs, threatening those members.”

Members said both Wednesday and Thursday night, drivers have been harassing and intimidating Muslims, as they walk to the mosque.

“They’re concerned. Concerned for safety of family and children that come here,” Khan said.

Jawad Ashraf attends the mosque and volunteers for traffic security at the busy location.

“We have an African American Muslim head of security,” Ashraf said. “(The) N-word was hurled at him. And all Islamophobic terms.”

Waterbury Police arrested Joshua Casey, 29, charging him with breach of peace for one of the incidents. The FBI is aware of the incidents and Waterbury Police at looking at stronger charges.

“Currently we are continuing this investigation,” said Waterbury Deputy Police Chief Fred Spagnolo. “Looking into possible bias and bigotry crimes.”

In light of what took place in Orlando earlier this month, people at this mosque want to spread peace, and hope to practice their faith, in peace.

Muslims worldwide are celebrating Ramadan, a month long time of fasting during daylight hours and meet at the mosque in evening for a communal meal and worship.

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