No one was hurt when the single shot was fired through the dome of the Orland Park Prayer Center a few minutes after 6 a.m. during the Fajr, or break-of-dawn prayer, according to a statement from the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“We need to take these incidents very seriously and that is why we wanted to emphasize for all authorities involved, whether local police or FBI, to look through all the possibilities,” said Agnieszka Karoluk, senior communications coordinator, CAIR.
“We’re very happy that no one was hurt and because it happened at such an early time, 6:05 for Fajr prayer, that is when most mosques have the least amount of people in them, at least in the United States because it is so early,” said CAIR spokeswoman Agnieszka Karoluk.
The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) is calling for an FBI hate crime investigation into the incident.
CAIR-Chicago has contacted the Orland Park Police to request increased security patrols and is asking the FBI to investigate the shooting for a potential bias crime.
“It happened during morning prayers when there were people inside,” Ahmed Rehab, executive director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago, told Al Jazeera. “It disrupted the prayer and debris fell down from the dome onto people.”
“Incidents such as this have a chilling effect on worshippers. No one should have to go to their place of worship worried if they’ll make it back home alive,” Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in the statement.
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Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Chicago, said his mother and sister have had similar experiences. He said he first began to understand what Muslim women who wear the hijab experience when he walked with his sister in a mall after she started wearing it.
“People would stare at her, and I would stare at them,” he said. “She on the other hand would just look ahead saying, ‘I won’t let it bother me.’ ”
He said the message of Suleiman’s experience is “just like a book, don’t judge a woman by her cover.”