By Ben Lane, TSB Staff
“I still believe in McKinney as a safe place.”
Mousa Daabes might have reason to think otherwise, but as his comment above suggests, he still has faith in McKinney. Daabes is the chairman of the McKinney Islamic Association. Their mosque, located at 2940 W. Eldorado Parkway, was vandalized in early June when someone shot dozens of paintballs at the mosque.
Daabes told TownSquareBuzz.com that he believes this was a “one-time incident” and does not feel that the incident was a hate crime. Daabes believes that the vandalism was perpetrated by a group of “young people who used to gather and hang out behind Sonic Restaurant” near the mosque.
“I believe this the act of some young people who have a lot of time on their hands and not a lot to do,” Daabes told TSB. “It’s a childish, thuggish act.”
Daabes said the young people would often congregate in a parking lot near the mosque, play music at a disturbing volume, and race their cars through the parking lot behind the Sonic Restaurant. “These kids are not mature,” Daabes said. “And they don’t understand anything about the Islamic culture.”
Daabes said that the mosque has only had one previous incident of vandalism before the paintball attack. He said that someone went behind their building and pulled out the power lines from the power box, leaving the mosque without power for several hours overnight.
In the aftermath of the paintball attack, the McKinney Police Department has increased its patrols in the area. Daabes said that the increased patrols have helped to drive away the young people from the area near the mosque. “With the increased patrols, they are disappearing and moving away from that corner,” he said. “That is a good thing.”
McKinney Police Spokesman Sergeant Chad Barker told TSB that since the paintball attack McKinney police officers have made multiple traffic stops in the area around the mosque. He said that the officers have issued criminal trespass warnings for anyone who “looked like they didn’t belong there.”
Barker said the department’s investigators have interviewed people about the paintball attack but have not made any arrests yet. He also added that the department is treating the paintball attack as a criminal mischief case, not a hate crime.
Daabes said that mosque leadership has also added increased security measures. He said that they have upgraded the mosque’s security system and “added additional more powerful cameras around the building.” He said that the mosque’s board members are able to remotely monitor the cameras via smartphones and computers.
Daabes said they have also reached out to the neighboring businesses in the hopes of launching cooperative efforts to monitor the area for crime. He said they have received unanimous support from their neighbors. “They have all come forward and expressed their sympathies,” he said.
One local church, Community North Baptist, recently reached out to the mosque and visited, bringing gifts and support.
Daabes said he hopes that the new security measures will help to prevent another act of vandalism in the future. He also said that he hopes that the person (or people) who vandalized the mosque feels remorse. “I hope that he will feel that this is not right,” he said. “This is not people of faith who would do this. This is not the act of someone who cares for others.
“We pray to our lord that such a crime will never be repeated to us or others.”