Ayman Salem, vice chairman of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, displays a window damaged by a vandalism incident at the Al-Rahman Mosque. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Photo: Chris Stewart
Photo: Chris Stewart

Reward offered for tips on window smashing at Dayton mosque

A cash reward has been offered for information leading to the conviction of an armed man caught on camera vandalizing a Dayton mosque during morning prayers, an action members of the area Islamic community want to see investigated and prosecuted as a hate crime.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its Cincinnati chapter announced the $5,000 reward on Thursday for leads on the man seen on surveillance footage smashing three windows of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton’s Al-Rahman Mosque with rocks before pointing a gun at cameras.

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“We hope this reward will result in actionable information for investigators and lead to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator,” said CAIR-Cincinnati Executive Director Karen Dabdoub.

Up to three people were inside the mosque on Feb. 28 when they heard loud crashes just before 6 a.m. during fajr prayers, said Ayman Salem, vice chairman of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton.

Police are looking for a suspect caught on surveillance cameras vandalizing the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton's Al-Rahman Mosque on Feb. 28. SUBMITTED

“If the person picked that time, he knows this is our prayer time,” Salem said.

Dabdoub said when a house of worship of a minority religious community is physically attacked “the automatic assumption is that this is intended as a hate crime.”

The mosque’s security cameras caught a man wearing a dark leather-like jacket, tinted glasses and a light cap. He jumped over the property’s back fence before circling around the front to the south side of the building on Josie Street where he smashed the windows and pointed a gun toward cameras, Salem said.

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No one was injured inside the mosque on Josie Street.

The Dayton Police Department has made the case a priority, but it’s too soon to know what brought about the crime, according to a police statement Wednesday.

“At this point there is not sufficient evidence to draw a conclusion or make a determination on whether this is a bias crime or not,” the statement read.