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Suspicious Crash At Mosque Prompts Hate Crime Investigation In Laurel

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A hate crime investigation is underway after a truck backs into a Maryland mosque.

Video captures a truck with a distinct marking pulling into the lot of a Laurel mosque off Contee Road last Monday. The driver then backs up and hits the building twice.

"There's just part of it that don't make sense," said Dr. Zainab Chaudry with the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Local Muslims have asked law enforcement to open up a hate crime investigation.

"We hope that that's not the case but unfortunately because there have been other incidents that have happened at this particular mosque and in light of the current tense political climate, we don't want to take that risk of assuming that this is not a hate crime," said Chaudry.

The FBI along with the Laurel Police Department are now investigating.

"It's obviously a vehicle that's striking the building. Whether it's intentional, whether it's unintentional, at this point we don't know," said Chief Richard McLaughlin, with the Laurel Police Department. "It's a little concerning that they did not stay on the site and identify themselves as accidentally striking the building, which would have cleared up a lot of questions, so we are going to treat it at this point as a possible hate crime, we are going to investigate it until it's proven differently."

The truck caught on camera hitting this Islamic center comes at a time when Muslims in the United States feel like they are being targeted.

In Florida, officials say someone walked up to a mosque Sunday and set it on fire. The Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooter once attended that mosque.

Doctor Chaudry denounced efforts to link law abiding Muslims to extremists.

"Anytime an attack like this occurs, not only against a mosque, but against any house of worship, it's an attack against all faith communities," she says.

Laurel Police Chief McLaughlin says even if the driver didn't intentionally back into the building, they left the scene without reporting it, and that's also a problem.

Police have increased patrols around the mosque.

If you have any information you are asked to call the Laurel Police Department

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