Unity event offers support after Islamic Center vandalized - WSMV News 4

Unity event offers support after Islamic Center vandalized

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Community comes together to support mosque Community comes together to support mosque
Kyler A. Wilson Kyler A. Wilson

Less than 24 hours after a Nashville mosque was vandalized, a group of people from many different religious faiths gathered in a show of support.

The person who police believe broke into the Al-Farooq Islamic Center on Fourth Avenue South around 3 a.m. Monday has been caught, and different faith-based groups and political leaders came together at the mosque in a show of solidarity.

Earlier in the day, worshipers swept away the broken glass and began repairing the damage done by an early-morning vandal.

Kyler Wilson, 27, of Nashville was captured nearby, sleeping in a car. He reportedly told police it wasn't a hate crime, rather he had been drinking heavily.

The mosque's leaders thanked the community Monday evening for its outpouring of concern.

"For the past couple of years, the Muslim community has witnessed a series of attacks that has only made our community stronger and only has solidified our belief that we belong here. This is our home, and we aren't going anywhere," said Remziya Suleyman, with the American Center for Outreach.

The unity event drew representatives of many different religions, including David Irvine, a Roman Catholic.

"I was very distressed to hear about this vandalism this morning, but I'm glad to see this outpouring of support by the Nashville community this evening," said Irvine, of Christ the King Roman Catholic Church.

"When one religious institution is attacked, you are attacking all religious institutions. And no one has the right to take away our religious freedom," said Rabbi Kliel Rose, of West End Synagogue.

Islamic Center vandalized; suspect found in his underwear

Police arrested a 27-year-old man in connection with breaking into and vandalizing a south Nashville Islamic Center early Monday morning.

The suspect, later identified as Kyler A. Wilson, is accused of entering the Al-Farooq Islamic Center on Fourth Avenue South and ransacking the worship center.

Police were first alerted when a cab driver familiar with the facility saw an open door on a parked vehicle with Wilson inside wearing only boxer shorts.

Wilson told the driver that "he needed his space," and fled the scene on foot. The cab driver then saw that the building had been entered and damaged.

Police believe the suspect got inside by climbing through a window, then he apparently went room-by-room and trashed the place.

Faisal Mohmmed spent the morning cleaning up the mess.

"We are not terrorists. They know we are not, and they know who these people are. We are good people of the community," Mohmmed said.

Items, including tables, a water cooler, a vending machine and a microwave, were overturned.

Windows were also broken, and the windshields of two hearses parked outside were damaged.

"It's heartbreaking to see this," said mosque member Hassam Mohamed. "We feel sad and heartbroken to see what they did to the place where we pray."

Around 7 a.m., officers were called to a business at 1500 2nd Avenue South where Wilson was discovered sleeping in a vehicle wearing only boxer shorts.

Police said Wilson, who lives on Humphreys Street, told detectives that he drank heavily Sunday night and does not remember vandalizing the mosque.

Wilson, who now faces burglary and vandalism charges, said he has no animosity toward any religion or group.

The FBI is also involved in the investigation to determine whether any federal law was violated.

In 2010, someone spray painted the words "Muslims Go Home" on the same mosque's walls.

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