Police in US state of Maine probing series of anti-Muslim incidents

Police in US state of Maine probing series of anti-Muslim incidents
A series of anti-Muslim incidents in Portland, Maine has led to a police investigation, and houses of worship in the area have been advised to take extra safety precautions.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
20 August, 2022
Police in Maine are looking at the series of incidents as potential anti-Muslim hate crimes [Getty]

Police in the US state of Maine are investigating a string of concerning incidents connected to a local mosque as potential hate crimes against the area’s Muslim community. 

Members of the Omar Bin Alkhetab Masjib in the city of Portland said that in April someone entered the mosque and started livestreaming details about the mosque. Then in early August, they reported to police that a video had been shared on social media of a copy of the Quran being burned. In a third incident, also in early August, someone spraypainted a threatening message near the home of a Muslim family. 

"It’s a very odd series of incidents. We’re not sure who’s behind it or the motivations. That’s why we’re glad they’re doing an investigation," Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told The New Arab

The community recently reported the incidents to CAIR, which issued a press release this week. 

At present, Maine is the US state with the most white and aged population. The demographics are slowly shifting, however, with Somali and Afghan immigrants growing in numbers, particularly around Portland.  

Last year, South Portland was the first city in the US to swear in a Somali mayor, Deqa Dhalac, whose candidacy and victory were celebrated by locals.  

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The state has previously had issues welcoming Muslim immigrants. In 2002, Lewiston Mayor Robert MacDonald wrote an open letter, telling Somalis not to come to the state. This was followed by demonstrations by locals in support of the African immigrants.  

CAIR has advised houses of worship in Maine to take extra security measures.