Local News

Authorities investigating incident at Hoke County mosque

Posted June 9, 2016 11:14 p.m. EDT
Updated June 10, 2016 3:54 p.m. EDT

— Officials said a man was arrested and charged with communicating threats after a series of incidents Thursday evening at the Masjid Al Madina mosque in Raeford.

Around 4:30 p.m., two employees found a bag filled with bacon at the entrance of the mosque, authorities said.

Following afternoon prayers, a man praying at the mosque exited and was followed to his home. The man said the suspect who followed him was present at the mosque when he returned at 5:30 p.m.

Authorities told WRAL News that a retired Army captain, who is Muslim chaplain at Fort Bragg, was approached by the man around 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the mosque. According to the chaplain, the man showed him a gun and threatened to kill him.

The chaplain said he asked the man to come inside and talk, but the man declined and left the area.

Officials said the man returned around 8 p.m. and attempted to run over a group of people in his SUV while worshipers were entering the mosque for their Ramadan evening prayer.

"We call on state law enforcement authorities and the FBI to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime,” said Ibrahim Hooper, of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We also ask local police to step up patrols in the area of this and other North Carolina mosques, particularly during the nightly activities associated with the ongoing fast of Ramadan."

The president Masjid Al Madina said Thursday's incident was the first act of violence at mosque and is thankful nobody was hurt.

Authorities said the investigation is ongoing. No additional information has been released.