The United Muslim Islamic Center in South Philadelphia faced vandalism last week, alongside a senior citizen community across the street, amidst the Israel-Hamas conflict. The graffiti insulted Muslim men and women. At a news conference, Qasim Rashad, UMIC President, expressed concern about the climate of anti-Islamic speech in the aftermath of the conflict.
Security footage suggested a single vandal, possibly not in the right state of mind, was behind the graffiti, which included messages like “read your Torah.” Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, State Rep. Jordan Harris, and Salima Suswell joined Rashad to condemn the vandalism and anti-Muslim rhetoric. They advocated for increased funding for the state’s Nonprofit Security Grant Fund to enhance the security of houses of worship.
Despite the vandalism, Rashad extended an invitation to the perpetrator to open a dialogue, reinforcing the idea that Islam is a religion of peace.