RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) – Authorities in Richardson are investigating after a man was beaten up just after evening prayer late Monday night at the Dallas Central Mosque. The building is located near the intersection of Abrams Road and Spring Valley Road. It’s a school and religious sanctuary for Muslims.
Kevin Perlich with the Richardson Police Department said that the victim walked into the mosque for prayer after 9:00 p.m. on Monday night, and noticed a suspicious man in the parking lot. When the congregant left the mosque, about an hour later, he was attacked by that same suspicious man and an accomplice.
Perlich said that no words were exchanged, and officials have no clue why the victim was targeted. But the incident has rattled community members, especially those who are Muslim.
“The fear is there. We as leaders of this community have worked with our leadership to make them cognizant of the fact that there may be measures they have to take to protect the mosque, to protect their well being,” said Khalid Hamideh with the Islamic Association of North Texas.
In fact, other mosque members did just that — quickly coming to the victim’s aid. He had minor abrasions and a cut over one eye, but refused a hospital visit for treatment after being checked out by paramedics. Nothing was stolen from the victim.
“We’re not really sure if they were trying to rob him,” Perlich stated. “It’s not clear what their intent was, this happened very quickly.” Investigators are reviewing surveillance video to get a better idea of what exactly took place.
When asked about a possible connection to the shooting attack in Garland, Javaid Karim, spokesperson for the Islamic Association of North Texas, said, “I’ll leave that for law enforcement to decide. I’m not here to investigate the case. But the timing is suspicious perhaps.”
The two suspects ran away and were not seen again. One was described as a chubby black male, about 6 feet 1 inch tall, wearing a black shirt. The other man was also described as a black male with shorter hair, wearing a black shirt and tan shorts.
Meanwhile, people coming to the mosque on Tuesday have been told to look out for any more suspicious activity, while security around the building has been increased. Congregants said that they are now on edge. “It’s going to be scary for me to come here to practice my religion if this is happening,” said Tarek Mohamed.
Police told CBS 11 News they have records of assaults, car burglaries and vandalism at the mosque. Thus, Monday’s attack isn’t an isolated act but it’s considered suspicious.