Authorities said they have arrested a suspect in the beating early Saturday of a man outside a Florida mosque that Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen had attended. An Islamic group alleges that the victim was beaten because he is a Muslim.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said racial slurs were made by the attacker, although authorities said they had no immediate indication of any racially motivated comments. Authorities said, however, they were continuing to investigate.
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St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara said deputies were called to the Fort Pierce Islamic Center by someone who said a man was attempting to burglarize a vehicle. His statement said deputies found a man bleeding from the mouth who said he was approached by a man who “asked him what he was doing and then punched him several times in the face and head.”
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The sheriff’s statement said a suspect identified as Taylor Anthony Mazzanti, 25, was arrested and has been charged with felony battery.
Mascara didn’t identify the victim, but said he was treated for injuries at a medical centre and released.
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CAIR issued a statement earlier that a white truck stopped at the mosque early Saturday and that a man had made slurs, saying “You Muslims need to get back to your country.”
Mateen’s father is among the roughly 100 people who attend the mosque. Ruiz said Omar Mateen sometimes attended Friday prayers but didn’t socialize with others.
Muslims shot, punched, kicked in attacks across U.S.
In other incidents, two teens in Brooklyn, N.Y., were beaten outside a mosque early Sunday morning as they left a midnight Ramadan prayer service.
Surveillance video shows at least one of the teens being punched and kicked multiple times in the middle of a street.
Pictures posted to Facebook show the cuts and bruises the 16- and 17-year-old victims sustained.
Despite reports from one victim that the attacker allegedly called him a “terrorist,” police have yet to classify the investigation as a hate crime.
There were reports there was an exchange between the teens and a woman sitting in a parked car outside the mosque moments before the attack occurred.
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In Houston, a doctor was attending morning prayers at a mosque on Sunday when he was approached by three men and shot.
“He’s the image of Islam we want,” Mufti Mohammed Wasim Khan, the leader of the Madrasah Islamiah mosque told KTRK.
Police are investigating the incident but had received no information suggesting the shooting was a hate crime.
On June 29, two Muslim men in Minneapolis were also the victims of an attack.
The men were driving to early morning Ramadan prayers with three others when a gunman opened fire on the vehicle while stopped at an intersection.
The two victims, who were dressed in traditional clothing at the time, were struck in the legs.
Minneapolis police are investigating the incident at as hate crime.
“They did not antagonize,” Jaylani Hussein, CAIR-MN’s executive director, told reporters. “This was literally a clear profiling of them, harassing them and shooting at them.”
U.A.E. warns citizens abroad to avoid wearing traditional garments
The United Arab Emirates has warned its citizens to avoid wearing traditional garments when traveling abroad after an Emirati man was handcuffed in Ohio over terrorism fears.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet late on Saturday that Emiratis should avoid wearing the garments for their safety. A separate ministry statement urged women to abide by bans on face veils in parts of Europe.
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Local media reported on Sunday that Emirati national Ahmed al-Menhali was detained at gunpoint last week while wearing a traditional white kandura, or ankle-length robe, and headscarf in Avon, Ohio, after a hotel clerk raised suspicions he could have links to the Islamic State group.
According to Avon Mayor Brian Jensen, a caller told police that al-Menhali had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
Cleveland’s WEWS-TV posted police video of police detaining al-Menhali and a later meeting where Avon officials offered their apologies.
— With files from the Associated Press