Bullets rip through Indianapolis mosque, faith leaders call for hate crime investigation

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On what’s considered the holiest day of the year in the Muslim faith, bullets pierced the Masjid-e-Noor mosque in the 5300 block of Lafayette Road on Sunday. The bullets barely missed a group of people praying inside. Mosque leaders now want answers for what they are calling a hate crime.

The mosque’s Imam Mohammed Nomair Chugtai was in another room when it happened, but he knew it was gunfire.

During a news conference Thursday, he said the people inside quickly moved to an interior hallway, concerned a shooter could be in the building.

“Because we were shocked we couldn’t imagine this happening to us,” he said.

Turns out no one else was inside. Outside surveillance video shows a red car drive by the mosque. If you slow the video down, you can make out sparks of light. Muslim leaders said that’s gunfire.

“In a possible hate crime against the mosque and an act of attempted murder against those inside,” said Hiba Alami with the Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network.

About half a dozen people were in the building to mark the end of Ramadan, the holiest day of the year in the Muslim faith. During a typical year without a pandemic, the mosque would have been packed.

“It is difficult to imagine how things could have been if the situation turned out like that,” said mosque board president Shamaas Hassan Nyazee.

They were thankful the shooting did not injure anyone. And though it frightened them, the interfaith community is standing in solidarity and said the shooting didn’t just target this mosque, but believers of all kinds.

“In the best of who we are our religions speak about peace and love,” said Reverend Jerry Zehr with the Carmel Interfaith Alliance.

Private security could be an option for safety in the future, and leaders are hoping for more IMPD patrols in the area.

IMPD is investigating and represenatatives said this type of thing won’t be tolerated be it at a mosque or any other place of worship.