South Florida

Offensive Message Left on Wall of Cooper City Islamic School

Repulsive and foul. That's how many in the community are describing the graffiti someone sprayed on the wall of an Islamic school in Cooper City, Florida. A search is now underway for whoever tagged the offensive message.

The message is short and graphic. "[Expletive] Muslims" greeted Nur-Ul-Islam Academy on Monday morning. Overnight, someone spray painted the hateful term on the wall outside the school.

"We have a very good relationship with the sheriff, the sheriff's office. They came immediately and presented a plan and assured us the students were safe," Principal Rubina Tariq said.

Part of that plan is security cameras, which caught the vandals on video, Broward's Sheriff's Office cruisers parked out front and armed security guards at the front gates.

About a week ago, the school contracted with SPIguard Inc. to protect the school and its students.

Principal Rubina didn't want to speculate on why someone would do this, only offering this: "I don't know. Sometimes crazy people just come and write it. It never happened in our school."

Fallout from the attacks in San Bernardino and Paris is the exact reason this happened, according to Wilfredo Ruiz from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Retaliation is happening now, he said: A defaced mosque in Palm Beach, another shot up in Tampa and now South Florida.

"The worst part is the political rhetoric from individuals like Trump, (which) really feed the will of these haters who take advantage of the situation and terrorize our students," Ruiz said.

By mid-afternoon, parents had been informed of what happened. It also became clear how serious this is. The Federal Anti-Terrorism Task Force and the FBI are now investigating the profanity.

"Don't jump into this course, this hateful discourse. It is very dangerous. The ones who suffer the most is our kids, and they should be kept out of the political discussion," Ruiz said.

The Islamic community feels targeted, even though this was a non-violent attack. Words hurt, and for those who share this mentality, CAIR says they're forgetting one thing.

"Muslims are the first line in defense protecting this country. We're the first ones to hear of any anti-social element, any extremist elements and we're the first ones to call the authorities," Ruiz said.

Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact police immediately.

Less than three miles away, also in Cooper City, hateful notes were found in several mailboxes over the weekend. At least two of the families targeted are Jewish.

"It's directed at somebody's religion and today's society, with all that's going on in the world, it's pretty scary," said Greg Popowitz, who received a note.

Same handwriting, same paper, but a different message at Malky Goodman's home. "WTF is on your roof? X-mas is better!" the note said. The mystery writer was referring to a menorah on top of one of their cars.

"We're just trying to spread light, do good in the world, and this community is a really together community," Goodman said.

Both Jewish families hope someone recognizes the handwriting and contacts police.

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