Map - Nationwide Anti-Mosque Activity
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsBella Vista, September 2010
The Bella Vista City Council met to consider banning the construction of mosques and the practice of Sharia Law within city limits.
3 or 4 anti-mosque incidentsGlendale, August 2010
Two men threw an “acid bomb” - a soda bottle filled with acid at a mosque - targeting mosque officials standing nearby.
Phoenix, August 2010
Vandals threw paint on the floor, shot out windows, and wrote anti-Muslim slurs on the walls of a local mosque.
Tucson, April 2007
Vandals ransacked a local mosque, writing "Bush was here" on one of the computer screens.
'Anti-Muslim rhetoric' cited after vandalism at mosque in UA area, Arizona Daily Star, Apr. 5, 2007
5 or more anti-mosque incidentsAntioch, August 2007
A local mosque was torched, rendering the building unusable.
Costa Mesa, January 2010
Burned and desecrated copies of the Quran were left at a mosque on separate occasions.
Cypress, June 2009
Vandals painted threats on the front wall of a local mosque, warning, "We will kill you all" and "U.S. military is going to kill you all."
Hayward, August 2012
Four teenagers threw lemons at a mosque and struck at least one person inside.
La Mirada, July 2011
Someone threw a rock through a mosque's newly installed glass doors.
Lomita, CA, March 2010
The City Council denied a request for a zoning change that would have allowed a local mosque to its expand its facilities due to alleged traffic concerns even though a traffic study concluded that the proposed expansion would not increase traffic and the city’s community development director, as well as the city planning commission, both recommended approval of the project. Since then, a lawsuit was filed against the City of Lomita challenging its decision to deny the mosque a permit.
Madera, August 2010
Vandals threw a brick at a local mosque and left signs outside that read, "Wake up America, the enemy is here," and "No temple for the god of terrorism."
Mission Viejo, January 2010
A religious display was vandalized with spray paint and an anti-Muslim message was left on the Islamic portion of an interfaith display.
Morada, CA, July 2009
The Morada Area Association, a private organization of local property owners, filed suit to stop construction of a mosque approved already approved by the local Board of Supervisors. Among the concerns cited throughout the debate over the mosque were its “social and cultural implications.” Sources:
Ontario, CA, August 2012
Three pig legs were thrown on the driveway of a house of worship during Ramadan. Sources:
Sacramento, August 2010
A plastic pig inscribed with "No Mosque in NYC," "Remember 9-11," and "Mo-Ham-ed" was left in a mosque's mailbox.
Stockton, April 2011
A mosque was burned down in a fire that also damaged nearby buildings. Investigators determined that the fire was deliberately set.
3 or 4 anti-mosque incidentsBridgeport, August 2010
Picketers targeted a mosque during Ramadan and shouted "murderers" and "Jesus hates Muslims" at worshippers, including children.
Middleton, CT, August 2012
A proposal to expand a mosque’s parking lot was met with concerns from neighbors and community members as well as accusations of terrorist ties by a group called Radical Islam.
Norwalk, April 2012
A group of residents hired a lawyer to oppose the construction of a local mosque. After a contentious public hearing, the Norwalk Zoning Commission rejected the mosque application. The Islamic Center has appealed the decision.
Wallingford, CT, May 2008
The local planning and zoning commission denied a permit to build a mosque, citing traffic and parking concerns, after opponents of the project formed a coalition to lobby against it, and one opponent expressed concerns about Islam’s allegedly “ill treatment” of women.
5 or more anti-mosque incidentsGainesville, July 2010
Protestors outside of a local mosque carried signs declaring that "Islam is the devil."
Jacksonville, May 2010
Vandals firebombed the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida.
Miami, June 2010
Vandals smashed windows and slashed tires at an Islamic center two years after it was targeted by gunfire.
Pompano Beach, June 2006
Opponents of a proposed mosque claimed that Muslims "come in to rape the community and go away," and filed a lawsuit to stop construction on the ground that mosque leaders had ties to terrorist organizations.
After mosque developers downsized their plans, the county commission unanimously approved the project despite strong opposition from local residents. Sources:
3 or 4 anti-mosque incidentsAlpharetta, June 2010
An Islamic center filed suit after the city council disregarded a favorable recommendation by the city's community development staff and denied permits to expand the center's facilities.
Alpharetta, March 2010
Opponents of a mosque set to be built by the Hazmah Islamic Center filed suit after the Forsyth County Commission voted to approve the project. Sources:
Marietta, July 2011
Signs of forcible entry were found at a mosque, indicating that the fire which damaged the building was set intentionally.
Lilburn, December 2009
An Islamic center filed suit after the city council refused to grant permits to build a new mosque, and local opponents made anti-Muslim comments, such as "I just don't like Muslims" and "I don't want them taking over our neighborhood."
Complaint, A.G.A. Islamic Organization v. City of Lilburn, Case 1:09-cv-03549-TWT (N.D. Ga. Dec. 17, 2009)
3 or 4 anti-mosque incidentsDes Plaines, IL July 2010
The city council approved an expanded parking lot for a local mosque despite objections from residents, with the Mayor explaining, that “[t]here have been other churches that have had additional parking (expansions). . . . I don't remember any controversy as far as I've been on the council.”
Mosque faces growing pains, Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, July 18, 2010
Lombard, August 2012
A bottle filled with acid and other unspecified materials was thrown at an Islamic school during the nighttime Ramadan prayers.
Morton Grove, August 2012
A pellet rifle was fired at a mosque during Ramadan, damaging the outer wall of the building.
Naperville, April 2010
An Islamic group filed suit against the county after being denied a permit to build a mosque; county officials asked inappropriate questions, such as whether there would be any animal sacrifices on premise; and local opponents falsely claimed the group has ties to terrorist organizations. The DuPage County Board later changed its zoning laws to restrict the operation of new houses of worship in residential neighborhoods.
Complaint, Irshad Learning Center v. County of DuPage, No. 1:10-cv-02168 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 8, 2010)
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsWichita, October 2011
A fire that caused more than $100,000 in damages to a mosque was declared arson.
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsFlorence, June 2010
Opponents of a proposed mosque have distributed fliers urging neighbors to "to stop the takeover of our country," and have set up a website alleging that the mosque is "the first phase of a Master Plan."
Mayfield, August 2010
The Board of Zoning Adjustments denied a permit for local Muslims to worship in a rented storefront, reversing the board's unanimous decision weeks earlier to grant the same permit.
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsBossier, May 2011
Pork was left on the door handles of a mosque so that attendees would have to touch it as they went inside.
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsAmherst, MA, April 2010
Proponents of a proposed mosque withdrew from the local planning board their application to convert a former Christian school into a mosque after encountering strident opposition from residents. Sources:
Boston, MA, July 2009
The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center is in Roxbury in the heart of Boston. It is the largest Islamic center in New England, and the second largest on the East Coast. It has a very diverse membership, representing more than 25 national groups and ethnicities. After an arduous seven-year building process and five years of litigation after it became a lightning rod for controversy generated by groups that did not want the mosque to be built, it opened its doors in June 2009. Sources:
3 or 4 anti-mosque incidentsGaithersburg, MD, November 2008
Vandals shot paintballs at a local mosque. Sources:
Salisbury, MD, April 2006
Someone fired gunshots into a local mosque. Sources:
Walkersville, June 2007
The town amended its zoning ordinance in an effort to block a mosque from being built on local farmland.
Moxley v. Town of Walkersville, 601 F.Supp.2d 648 (D. Md. 2009)
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsPortland, August 2009
The Maine Civil Liberties Union filed suit when the city refused to allow a group of Muslims to use a former television repair shop they had purchased for prayer services and religious study.
Portland, May 2011
Vandals left graffiti on the side of a mosque saying, “Go home” and “Osama Today Islam Tomorrow (sic).”
5 or more anti-mosque incidentsDearborn, January 2011
A man was arrested with a vehicle full of explosives he intended to use to blow up a mosque.
Detroit, May 2010
Vandals damaged a local mosque twice in one week.
East Lansing, September 2010
A burned Quran was left outside of a mosque.
Grand Rapids, MI, July 2008
The city planning commission unanimously rejected a proposal to convert a former school building into a Muslim worship center after neighbors vigorously objected. Sources:
Northville, MI, November 2009
After numerous neighbors protested, the zoning board of appeals denied a request for a variance that would have enabled a local mosque to build a parking lot in front of the building. Sources:
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsMarshall, April 2012
A sign outside of a mosque was defaced with spray paint.
St. Anthony, June 2012
The St. Anthony City Council rejected plans for a local Islamic center after a public meeting. Some of those who spoke against the center expressed their anti-Muslim bias with statements such as, 'Islam is evil.'
3 or 4 anti-mosque incidentsCape Girardeau, May 2009
Several windows were destroyed at a mosque in an act of vandalism that was later determined to be motivated by discrimination.
Joplin, August 2012
A mosque’s wooden sign was ruined in an arsonist’s fire. Four years later, the roof of the same mosque was set on fire. A month after that, the entire mosque was burned to the ground. The FBI has joined the investigation.
Springfield, January 2011
Vandals used graffiti to put hateful messages on three walls of an Islamic Center.
St. Louis, September 2010
Vandals spray-painted the phrase “worship satan” on the side of a mosque twice over the course of two weeks.
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsMadison, August 2009
More than 300 residents signed a petition opposing the construction of a proposed mosque, with many citing fears about radical Islam.
Muslims Win Approval for Water, Sewer for Madison Co. Mosque, March 23, 2010, The Clarion-Ledger, at A5.
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsDurham, November 2009
A local mosque was vandalized three times in one year and worshippers were told to "go to hell."
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsOmaha, October 2008
A rock was thrown through the glass front door of a mosque, shattering it.
3 or 4 anti-mosque incidentsBridgewater, April 2011
An Islamic group sued the town after it changed zoning rules to prevent a mosque from opening in a residential neighborhood.
Piscataway, NJ, August 2009
The Muslim Center of Middlesex County proposed to expand its existing facility, which has sparked objections from some residents.
Rockaway Borough, NJ, March 2008
Residents filed suit to overturn the local zoning board’s approval of a plan to convert an area building into a mosque.
Wayne, July 2006
After stonewalling approval of a plan to build an Islamic center and mosque for three years, the township of Wayne attempted to exercise eminent domain over the proposed site property, prompting mosque officials to sue.
Complaint, Albanian Associated Fund v. Township of Wayne, Case No. 06-cv-3217 (D. N.J. Oct. 1, 2007)
5 or more anti-mosque incidentsQueens, January 2012
A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Islamic center. The man responsible said that he intended 'to inflict as much damage as possible and take out as many Muslims and Arabs as possible.'
Amherst, May 2011
A sign was placed on a lawn neighboring a mosque that read, 'Bomb Making: Next Driveway.'
Brooklyn, May 2011
Local residents have vowed to stop construction of a mosque in the Sheepshead Bay area, with one neighbor even threatening to bomb it. After Osama Bin Laden’s death, graffiti was found at the construction site reading, “He’s Dead.”
Carlton, August 2010
A group of teenagers hurled obscenities at Muslim worshippers, shot a gun outside of a mosque, and sideswiped a congregant.
Hudson, September 2010
Three men spray-painted an anti-Muslim epithet on the back wall of a mosque.
Huntington, October 2010
A jar of nails was thrown at a mosque.
Manhattan, May 2010
A proposed Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan drew strong opposition both locally and nationally; though two local governmental bodies have denied efforts to block construction of the proposed center, the controversy continues, and one group has filed a lawsuit to stop the center's construction.
New Hyde Park, NY, October 2010
A request for a variance to build a parking lot for a local mosque drew a packed crowd and opposition at a zoning board hearing. Sources:
New York, August 2010
An intoxicated man entered a mosque during evening prayers, called those present “terrorists,” and urinated on prayer rugs.
5 or more anti-mosque incidentsCincinnati, December 2005
Two pipe bombs were detonated outside of a local mosque.
Columbus, December 2010
A Muslim woman was threatened and sprayed with pepper spray outside of an Islamic Center.
Dayton, September 2008
A ten-year-old girl was sprayed in the face with a chemical while attending Ramadan services.
Sugarcreek Township, January 2008
Opponents of a proposed mosque declared, “We just feel that Christianity is right and that Islam is wrong. Therefore, we take a stand to see (a mosque) not in our community.” The zoning board of appeals rejected plans for the mosque in January 2008, but approved a scaled back version in September 2008, despite vocal opposition. Sources:
Toledo, OH, September 2012
A gasoline fire on the main floor of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo was ruled to be arson.
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsOklahoma City August 2012
Vandals fired paintballs at the doors of a mosque then fled the scene.
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsCorvallis, November 2010
An arsonist set fire to an Islamic center.A federal grand jury indicted the arsonist on federal hate crime and arson charges.
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsNorth Smithfield August 2012
Surveillance video captured someone driving into a mosque’s parking lot and smashing the moque’s sign with a hammer.
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsFlorence, South Carolina, October 2010
Vandals defaced the walkway of a mosque, using bacon strips to spell out “PIG CHUMP” in an apparent effort to offend Muslim worshippers who do not eat pork. The mosque was also vandalized earlier this year when newly installed windows were smashed. Sources:
Taylors, August 2009
Vandals scratched "death to Muslims" into a sidewalk leading into the mosque.
5 or more anti-mosque incidentsAntioch, June 2010
Opponents of a proposed mosque organized a petition in an effort to dissuade a property owner from selling to an Islamic group.
Brentwood, May 2010
A local Islamic group withdrew a plan to build a mosque after public outcry.
Brentwood mosque not alone in defeat, The Tennessean, May 23, 2010
Columbia, February 2008
Neo-Nazis burned down a mosque.
Knoxville, September 2010
A burned Quran was left outside of a mosque.
Murfreesboro, May 2010
Opponents of a planned mosque have vandalized the mosque site, including setting fire to construction vehicles.
Nashville, February 2010
Vandals spray-painted "Muslims go home" on a mosque and left a vitriolic, hate-filled letter railing against the Muslim faith.
5 or more anti-mosque incidentsArlington, July 2010
Vandals burned playground equipment at a mosque and spray-painted a picture of Uncle Sam assaulting Allah in the parking lot.
Houston, May 2011
Arsonists broke through a mosque’s window, poured gasoline on the carpet, and started a fire.
Houston, October 2009
A vandal scrawled religious slurs on the outside walls of a local mosque.
Katy, December 2006
Opponents of a plan to construct a mosque held pig races every Friday evening on bordering property in hopes of offending Muslims on their holy day.
Lubbock, October 2006
Vandals attacked a local mosque three times in one month.
San Antonio, TX, September 2010
A mosque was vandalized with spraypaint and worshippers’ cars were targeted with graffiti and anti-Muslim messages. Sources:
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsChantilly, May 2012
An eighteen-year-old man was arrested for vandalism after he broke several windows and caused about $60,000 worth of damage to a mosque that was under construction.
Harrisonburg, VA, September 2012
A mosque was spray-painted with obscene graffiti.
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsBellevue, June 2010
Vandals smeared excrement on an Islamic center's van, which featured advertisements promoting Islam.
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidentsWilson, May 2010
A new mosque was vandalized shortly after it opened following a long anti-Mosque campaign conducted by local residents.
Green Bay, August 2010
Opponents of a proposed mosque, including city council members, made a number of anti-Muslim remarks.
The controversy over the planned Park 51 community center in New York City is only one example of opposition to mosques and Islamic centers in the United States. Existing and proposed mosque sites across the country have been targeted for vandalism and other criminal acts, and there have been efforts to block or deny necessary zoning permits for the construction and expansion of other facilities.
While mosque opponents frequently claim their objections are based on practical considerations such as traffic, parking, and noise levels, those asserted concerns are often pretexts masking anti-Muslim sentiment. Government officials in some areas of the country have yielded to this religious bigotry, treating mosques and Islamic centers differently than other proposed houses of worship and/or denying zoning permits without the compelling interest that is required by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (a federal civil rights law that affords heightened legal protection to the use of property for religious purposes). Even where local governments strongly support religious freedom, private citizens nevertheless often seek to intimidate Muslims into forgoing the exercise of this freedom.
The Constitution guarantees the right of private citizens to protest, and the ACLU would vigorously defend that right if infringed by the government. But making Muslims – or any other religious group – feel unwelcome in local communities conflicts with our Founders' vision of religious liberty and tolerance. Protests that cross the line into violence and other criminal acts are, of course, not protected by law and are indefensible.
Above is a map highlighting anti-mosque incidents across the country over the past five years. If you are aware of an anti-mosque incident not on this list, please contact us.