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Mosque Opening on Hold After Vandals Trash Windows

Leaders of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community estimate tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Under the cover of darkness Sunday night, vandals downed alcohol, threw rocks and smashed the windows—along with over a decade of hard work, financial sacrifices and prayers—of a Chantilly mosque. 

The Ahmadiyya Muslim community was reeling Monday after learning of the destruction at the construction site, which leaders estimated could cost up to $60,000 to repair. The vandals took out most of the glass windows and doors on the first floor, and even two windows high on the second floor. 

“It’s kind of devastating to see," said Usman Ghumman, the general secretary. "All the windows are smashed in, like in an insane way. Like somebody went systematically, door to door, to whatever’s reachable.”

More upsetting than the financial damage, however, is the fact that the mosque's opening will now have to be delayed. The glass was specially-ordered and shaped, and cost between $3,000 to $6,000 per window, Ghumman said. It will take a long time to order and replace it, even if the insurance covers the entire cost in a timely fashion.

When the construction workers—who had been putting extra hours in on the weekends so the mosque could open in late February—left the site around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, the site was fine. When the morning crew arrived early Monday, shards of glass were everywhere. The majority of the windows on the first floor were broken. Beer cans and empty alcohol containers were strewn all over—"enough for 20 men," said Tariq Hassan, of EMSI Engineering, the company building the mosque. 

Ghumman said the vandals did not steal anything from the mosque, so he believes that they were specifically targeted, due to the amount of effort it would have taken to vandalize the building. 

The irony is the Ahmadiyya Muslim community promotes peace, he said. Their motto is "love for all, hatred for none." The community is persecuted in some Islamic countries because of some of their beliefs, but hoped to reside peacefully in "a community where the Constitution says every man is able to worship, and there's freedom of religion,” Ghumman said. 

Ghumman and his community have experienced devastating vandalism before. Six or seven years ago, vandals broke into another mosque in the DC area and desecrated the Koran, he said. 

The construction of the new mosque near Westfields Boulevard had evoked opposition from nearby neighborhoods over certain elements of the project, such as the height of the dome. After more than a decade of preparation, though, the community was finally ready to open the mosque, tentatively planned for the end of February. 

Fairfax County police have dedicated considerable time and resources to finding the perpetrator or perpetrators. Detectives were investigating the site for a good portion of the day, and brought a dog to sniff over the area. The investigation is in early stages, but a priority for the officers at the Sully District Station. Anyone with information may contact Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477. 

As for the community, they have filed an insurance claim and intend to press charges against whoever vandalized the area. 

“When things come along so well, you don’t expect it," Ghumman said. "Like it was too good to be true. Then all of a sudden something like this happens. It sets you back.”

Note: this article was published Jan. 31, 2012. 

Allison Knight-Khan January 31, 2012 at 03:32 AM
My seven year old surprised me the other day when he said, "That's ironic!" I felt sure he was headed for the gifted program. What I didn't realize is that as an Ahmadi-Muslim it is good that he understands irony so young. There is so many hate-filled videos on Islam on Youtube that I feel certain Americans will act on negative emotions. When we had an interfaith talk at Baitul Baqi mosque in Atlanta, I just happened to pick up a brochure on Jihad, which states: "Islam is a religion of love and brotherhood, based on the bedrock of Peace and Tolerance. Brute force can be used to bend a person't head, but ti can never win his heart. It is love that wins the heart." Too bad the vandals did not ingest this motto, instead of the alcohol.
Ahmed Bajwa January 31, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Based on Ahmadiyya Muslim Community motto of "Love For All, Hatred For None"; we do various community service projects like adopt a highway, blood drives and soup kitchens in local community. One such event is happening on January 31st - Tuesday's night where our youth will cook and serve food at Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center (Herndon Virginia).
Jim Daniels January 31, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Shameful...for a country that supposedly believes in tolerance and freedom of religion, it seems we don't practice what we preach all the time. I hope the community comes to together to show that what these vandals did in no way represents the sentiments of the rest of us...
Michele January 31, 2012 at 01:42 PM
What Jim Daniels said! It is an embarrassment to our community to harbor people who would do such as this! I hope that the perpetrators are quickly caught and brought to justice.....maybe to include some community service repairing the damage they did as well! Please let the community know what, if anything, we can do to help!
Mary Stachyra Lopez January 31, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I've removed a comment because it contained a derogatory term for Muslims. The reader may repost, without that word. We do not allow that type of language on the site and all comments must stay civil. http://centreville.patch.com/terms Thanks for reading, Mary
S. Ahmad January 31, 2012 at 02:35 PM
It is absolutely scary to read about vandalism at one of our mosques. I hope that locals will help the police department to bring those responsible to justice.
Sharon Miller January 31, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Is there a fund where we might contribute, to help repair this damage? I am so sorry that these idiots have harmed your community!
saleem Hayat January 31, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I am sad, that action of few will reflect bad image of our great country. We Ahmadies believe with our all heat and soul on the message of"Love for all, and hatred for none". God willing people will see that message well and alive through our actions and responses. Like Jesus(peace be upon him) said "oh God forgive them, as they know not what they are doing'. We Ahamdies will by the Grace of Almighty will rebuild, with a hope that HE alone may accepts us. Some wonderful people like Mary, and Sharon showed the beautiful face of our nation. May God bless them, I appreciate their kind words.Just keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We love this land as this is our land, so action of a few will not deter us loving God's creation and serving the humanity with best of our abilities. Peace to all.
saleem Hayat January 31, 2012 at 03:57 PM
May God bless you for your kindness.
saleem Hayat January 31, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I am sad, that action of few will reflect bad image of our great country. We Ahmadies believe with our all heart and soul on the message of "Love for all, and hatred for none". God willing people will see that message well and alive through our actions and responses. Like Jesus(peace be upon him) said "oh God forgive them, as they know not what they are doing'. We Ahamdies will by the Grace of Almighty will rebuild, with a hope that HE alone may accepts us. Some wonderful people like Mary, and Sharon showed the beautiful face of our nation. May God bless them, I appreciate their kind words.Just keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We love this land as this is our land, so action of a few will not deter us loving God's creation and serving the humanity with best of our abilities. Peace to all.
Mary Stachyra Lopez January 31, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I asked Usman Ghumman, the general secretary, if the mosque needed donations. While the community is very gratified to see the expressions of sympathy, the insurance will cover the cost of replacing the windows. So they thank everyone for their kindness, but they are not going to accept donations
Michele January 31, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Mary, thank you for letting us know.
Ahmad Khan January 31, 2012 at 07:25 PM
When you come across something like this a question comes to mind. What is the difference between those idiots in Nigeria, Egypt and Pakistan terrorizing peaceful and law abiding citizens and the criminals who caused this tragedy?
Mary Stachyra Lopez January 31, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Hi, in case anyone would like to find out more, we have an update: http://centreville.patch.com/articles/police-vandalism-at-mosque-likely-not-a-hate-crime
Ahmad January 31, 2012 at 07:30 PM
News like this only enforces how much attachment, love and pride we have in Masjid(Mosque) Mubarik. Alot of people have made sacrifices financially and many other ways. Situations like these only deepens our love for this mosque and will only make each individual stronger. Love for all, Hatred for None.
Mary Stachyra Lopez January 31, 2012 at 07:48 PM
A comment has been deleted for violating our terms of use. Read the terms here: centreville.patch.com/terms
Steve Goldstein January 31, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I just read of this destruction in the Washington Post. It leaves me so sad. Having read the comments above, I am heartened to see that there are loving and open-minded people in the Fairfax County community. I offer my deepest sympathies to the members of The Ahmadiyya Muslim community, and I hope that acts like this will never again be repeated.
Jerrold Foltz January 31, 2012 at 10:11 PM
The words: "Love for all, and hatred for none," coming from a faith community that was so victimized, humbles and inspires me greatly as a Christian. May the people of goodwill in our community speak of and show our solidarity with all, in the face of such senseless destruction. May God bless us all as we build community.
Nasir Jadran January 31, 2012 at 10:32 PM
As being a member and secretary public relations for Virginia chapter of our community I've been getting messages of sympathies towards our peaceful community. I appreciate and thank to all of those who have shown solidarity with our community. I just want to share that Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's youth organization is holding Soup Kitchen in Herndon to feed the hungry. For those of you who may be interested can reach me at nasir.jadran@ahmdiyya.us
Mary S. February 01, 2012 at 12:15 AM
I am so sorry for what happened in Chantilly to this Mosque. I am sure it's a group of kids who are ignorant, thinking that this is some fun thing to do. I hope the police catch these folks. Thanks for the stories and the comments make me feel better about how the community feels about this.
Stephanie Bailey DeWald February 01, 2012 at 02:45 AM
I would agree with Mary. It's probably some ignorant young people who saw an opportunity to make a very bad decision. I hope they are caught and brought to justice. I am sure the feeling of being violated as a community is overwhelming and that is heartbreaking to me. Feel blessed that you are surrounded by others who believe in love for all and grieve right along side of you.
Cassie February 01, 2012 at 02:38 PM
I am so sorry this beautiful Mosque is on hold. I had just noticed it the other day driving down Westfields Blvd sitting on that hill and thinking what a wonderful view the people who attend the church will have every day they attend. The actions of these ignorant stupid people who smashed all those beautiful windows does not reflect the feelings of this community.
Bearguy February 01, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Attacking a place of worship is just plain wrong... and while I too hope that whoever did this will be caught, it's the Divine One they'll ultimately have to answer to. I've seen the note that the community is NOT accepting donations towards their repairs... but would a contribution towards something else (the soup kitchen for example) be acceptable?
mmherndon February 02, 2012 at 04:46 AM
I would like to make a donation for a repair...where is some info about donations?
Mohsin Naeem February 02, 2012 at 04:33 PM
It's sad to see how people can harm a worship place with a special message for humanity "Love For All Hatred For None" and this community practices it as well. Love and respect the country you live in is one of the teaching of Holy Quran. Please go on www.alislam.org To find more information about this peaceful, loving and Caring community practice where ever it is estabilished in world. The USA is the only country that gives immunity and freedom to practice one's faith and we should be appreciative of this truth. Misreprenting of true Islam teaching by extremist has caused nothing but hatred in general public but Ahmadiyya Muslim community is working day and night to clear this misconception by following true Quran teachings of peace and harmony in the country you live and we will not support any disruptions created by these uneducated terrorist groups. Our doors are always open to the community anytime and welcome any comments and questions.
Michele February 02, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Moshin - thank you very much for the link!
Mary Stachyra Lopez February 02, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Everyone I have spoken with said they were touched by the outpouring of support from the community. However, they believe that insurance will cover the repairs, so they are declining offers for donations.
Adam Light February 03, 2012 at 04:48 PM
"Our “Muslims for Loyalty” campaign [Ahmadiyya Muslims] intends to peacefully but forcefully convey to Americans that all such messages which encourage disloyalty to, or terrorism against, America contradict the teachings of Islam, the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammad. (Naseem Mahdi, ational Vice President and Missionary Incharge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA - the oldest Muslim Organizati¬on in the US) Why We Launched a 'Muslims for Loyalty' Campaign This Week In the United States http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/01/13/launched-muslims-loyalty-campaign-week-united-states/
Adam Light February 03, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Ahmadiyya Muslims are not just any Muslims; they believe in their Promised Messiah, founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, who on his deathbed, proclaimed in his book, ‘A Message of Peace’ broad sympathy for all of mankind! He said, “My dear countrymen, that religion is no religion which does not inculcate broad sympathy, nor does that man deserve to be called man who does not have a sympathetic soul within him...These liberal ways of God teach us that we also should do good to all mankind, and should not be narrow-minded, nor limit our sympathy.” Regarding the name ‘Ahmadiyya¬,’ the founder himself stated, “it has been considered appropriate that the name of this party should be Ahmadiyya, so that everyone hearing this name should realize that this party has come into being for the spread of peace and security and that it would have NOTHING TO DO WITH WAR AND FIGHTING." If the vandals knew that Ahmadi/Ahmadiyya Muslims are the most peaceful Muslims in the entire world, that believe in being loyal to one's country, to include America, they woudn't have committed these shameful acts! Ironically, extremist Muslims would take pleasure in this, since they are the one's that persecute them!
Herb Cooper-Levy February 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM
I only this morning became aware of what happened. As a practicing Jew, I stand with your congregation to say that this is not okay. May the One continue to bless you!

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