Man arrested after Quran damaged at Arizona State University

Dec 10, 2021, 5:34 PM | Updated: 5:46 pm

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State University police have arrested a man they say is responsible for damaging Islamic literature and a copy of the Quran at the campus library.

Police are investigating a motive for damage at the Hayden Library’s interfaith room on Wednesday. Before the arrest, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called it a hate crime and the ASU Muslim Students Association posted photos of burned and torn pages with Arabic writing and damage to a wall.

The association said in a statement the room “is largely used by Muslim students gathering for prayer and is a well-known place for students to find a few moments (of) peace and reflection on campus.”

Officers on Thursday arrested a 38-year-old homeless man after a witness saw him tear up several magazines and books and reported it to library staff, according to court records and a statement from ASU police. Officers connected him to the earlier damage of Islamic materials through surveillance footage.

Authorities determined the suspect had outstanding felony and misdemeanor warrants and had a trespass warning to stay away from the ASU campus through 2022. He was arrested on the warrants and drug possession charges for a glass pipe and methamphetamine they say he was carrying, according to court records.

“There is no room or tolerance at ASU for this type of damaging behavior,” ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson said in a statement.

Sasha Uddin, director of education for the ASU Muslim Students Association, said members of the group were heartened by the response from administrators and campus police. She said police took the incident seriously and made a quick arrest, pledged to handle the damaged Quran — which was taken as evidence — respectfully and said they would continue discussions about the safety of Muslims on campus.

“I cannot stop hate crime from happening or any sort of backlash from happening, but knowing the faculty and the ASU police will do what’s necessary for me to get any justice that’s needed makes me feel pretty safe,” Uddin said.

With the suspect identified, Uddin said it’s not clear yet whether it should be labeled a hate crime. But she said the association wants to “move forward with solidarity and with forgiveness” and she hopes it demonstrates Islam’s commitment to forgiveness and not escalating tensions.

Azza Abuseif, executive director of the Arizona office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the university and law enforcement must ensure a safe learning environment for students of all faiths. She urged law-enforcement to treat it as a hate crime.

“I have a hard time believing it wasn’t targeted toward the Muslim community because it is the holy book,” Abuseif said. “It’s not just some random book that you found and burned. I do think it was intentional.”

Arizona law does not have a hate crime category for investigations, but authorities can consider prejudicial motivations as an aggravating factor, said Adam Wolfe, a spokesman for ASU police.

“At this stage, we still don’t know the motives behind this incident,” Wolfe said in an email.

He said educational aids were “heavily damaged” including books, magazines and a Quran, along with library infrastructure.

___

This story has been corrected to fix the name of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Baby’s father charged in slaying of stroller-pushing NYC mom

NEW YORK (AP) — The ex-boyfriend of a New York City woman shot dead Wednesday as she pushed their infant daughter in a stroller has been arrested and charged with killing her, police said Friday. Slain mother Azsia Johnson’s family identified suspect Isaac Argro as the baby’s father and said he routinely abused Johnson, beating […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Judge: Sheriff must post bail after anti-harassment order

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The sheriff of Pierce County, Washington, was ordered to post $100,000 bail while he awaits trial on false-reporting charges related to his controversial confrontation last year with a Black newspaper carrier. Judge Jeffrey Jahns on Friday imposed the bail — 10 times the amount requested by prosecutors — during a hearing […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Lights illuminate a coal mine at twilight, Jan. 13, 2022, in Kemmerer, Wyo. With the nearby ...
Associated Press

Court leaves dwindling paths for Biden’s climate mission

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 500 days into his presidency, Joe Biden’s hope for saving the Earth from the most devastating effects of climate change may not quite be dead. But it’s not far from it. A Supreme Court ruling Thursday not only limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate climate pollution by power […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Sheriff: People getting out of Texas trailer were work crew

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A group of people who were spotted getting in and out of a parked semitrailer in San Antonio were part of a work crew, not a human-smuggling operation, authorities said Friday. Authorities checked the vehicle after someone alerted a deputy constable to it, just days after 53 migrants died when they […]
20 hours ago
Lauren Wright, a Navy spouse whose family was sickened by jet fuel in their tap water, shows her su...
Associated Press

Distrust remains after Navy report on tainted Hawaii water

HONOLULU (AP) — Lauren Wright continues to be leery of the water coming out of the taps in her family’s U.S. Navy home in Hawaii, saying she doesn’t trust that it’s safe. Wright, her sailor husband and their three children ages 8 to 17 were among the thousands of people who were sickened late last […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Joey Gilbert waits before a Republican primary debate for Nevada governor Wednesday, May 25,...
Associated Press

Clerks complete recount of Nevada Republican governor’s race

RENO, Nev. (AP) — County election officials wrapped up a two-day statewide recount of ballots in the Nevada GOP primary for governor Friday and the outcome did not appear to change in the state’s two most populous counties, showing second-place finisher Joey Gilbert losing to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo in a crowded field. The […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Man arrested after Quran damaged at Arizona State University