BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Police have arrested the man believed to be responsible for vandalizing a mosque in Bloomington early Monday morning and leaving behind a mess of damage.
Adam Walls, 32, was arrested Thursday and charged with institutional criminal mischief.
The recent vandalism highlights the huge surge of hate crimes across Indiana.
According to an FBI report, in 2019, 80 hate crimes were recorded in Indiana. In 2020, there were 186.
“The lack of civil discourse that we are seeing lately has emboldened people and encourage them to act on their hate,” said Hiba Alami, the executive director for the Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network.
Alami tells I-Team 8 that she remembers when Masjid E Noor, a mosque on Lafayette Road, was shot at several times in May 2020. Federal investigators say they believe Jonathan Warren fired shots into the mosque after a fight with his girlfriend’s father. Warren was not charged with a hate crime.
Alami says it’s been difficult to swallow that fact.
“We trust law enforcement, we trust the FBI, but, honestly, for the community, the way we perceive it is that there’s no other way but to have it as a hate crime.”
Alami says it’s been concerning to see the attacks on the Muslim community in the past few years. In 2019, a Muslim man was killed in a road-rage shooting after the shooter yelled Islamophobic insults at him.
I-Team 8 was told by members of the Masjid E Noor that they now have bulletproof panels behind their windows where bullet holes once were in 2020.
Alami says it’s normal now to see places of faith take extra security measures, but it hasn’t changed the trauma left behind for many who have experienced hate crimes.
“Those hate crimes that happen across Indiana make us really scared, fearful. We feel that we are deprived of our right to worship freely,” Alami said. “It has been a really tough time for our community to feel safe at at their own home.”
“We are pleased with the arrest and continue to call on the police department to investigate it as a hate crime, and file charges that reflect motive accordingly. The mosque was intentionally targeted with other non-mosque property and cars in the vicinity spared. The culprit attempted to skirt being caught, including by security cameras. The damages were significant and particularly violent. They knew what they were doing.”