Florida mosque attacker arrested

Florida mosque attacker who vandalised mosque and left bacon on its doorstep arrested

Photo by: Titusville police
Photo by: Titusville police

Michael Scott Wolfe mugshot

A man who vandalised a mosque and left bacon on its doorstep wearing camouflage clothing in Florida was arrested on Friday.

Officers identified the vandal as 35-year-old Michael Scott Wolfe. He was taken into custody on Monday and was charged with criminal mischief of a mosque, a third degree felony.

Footage of the incident showed Wolfe entering the carport of the Masjid Al-Munin mosque in Titusville near Cape Canaveral in central Florida late Friday night, Titusville police spokeswoman Amy Matthews said.

Civil rights group, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said this is the third time such an incident has occurred in less than a month.  The group has called for state and federal investigations.

Muslims are prohibited from consuming pork products, thus such incidents are considered highly offensive to them. CAIR says hate groups use pigs or pork to try to desecrate mosques.

Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida which oversees that mosque and nine others, said this is the first time such an incident has occurred in Titusville in 40 years. 

Vandalism against Muslims has risen since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino attacks, Musri said.

Musri criticised recent anti-Muslim rhetoric among politicians such as Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

"These statements legitimise the thoughts of people who are radical," Musri said. "They feel these leaders are agreeing with them, so it's becoming more acceptable for them to say so, to do so."

CAIR said cases of damage, destruction, and vandalism of mosques, and intimidation attempts reached a record high in 2015 since the organisation began tallying incidents in 2009.

At the end of December, vandals in Las Vegas wrapped bacon around door handles of the Masjid-e-Tawheed mosque, CAIR said.

The FBI has opened an investigation into a pig's head thrown on Dec. 6 from a pickup truck at the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in Philadelphia.

TRTWorld and agencies