PHILADELPHIA – The man believed to be responsible for vandalizing a mosque in East Mount Airy over the weekend has been arrested and charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Police launched an investigation after a man was caught on camera vandalizing the Masjidullah mosque on Limekiln Pike around midnight Saturday, the same time a youth group was said to be wrapping up.
On Monday night, officials say a suspect identified as 43-year-old Johnathan Boone was taken into custody after he was recognized by an officer. He is charged with institutional vandalism, criminal mischief and related offenses.
Boone has been on bench warrant status for harassment and criminal mischief in connection to an open 2014 case, according to officials.
Camera footage from the mosque shows the suspect getting off a bus at Washington Lane and Limekiln Pike on Friday night. He is seen walking towards the entrance of the Masjidullah before turning away and immediately heading towards the back of the building.
Officials say the suspect spray-painted the Masjidullah’s doors and a brand-new refrigerator used for their food pantry. The vandalism included a cross, a Star of David and the name Jesus written out, according to police.
The Masjidullah responded to the vandalism with a statement, along with The Perfecting Church and Congregation Rodeph Shalom, to show three distinct faith communities coming together to rule out the hate.
“We don’t love God better by hating our brother, but we love God better by loving our brother,” said Pastor Kevin Brown, lead pastor at The Perfecting Church.
“We’ll come stronger out of this and, at the same time, it’s a warning sign that fanaticism and hatred is real,” said CAIR Philadelphia Executive Director Ahmet Tekelioglu. “It’s sad for our communities to not be able to worship in peace.”
Some of the vandalism remnants were still clear even after clean-up on Sunday, but mosque leaders said it only motivated them more.
“We’re not quitting on Philadelphia,” Imam Idris Abdul-Zahir said. “This only makes me want to come harder and do more, because clearly someone tried, wants to deter us and we’re not going to be deterred at all.”
– Source: Fox29.com. Edited for style.
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