Two women arrested for trespassing, vandalising mosque in US state
PHOENIX, USA: Two women who were arrested last Thursday after breaking into an Arizona mosque yelling derogatory comments while broadcasting the whole episode on Facebook Live have been charged with burglary.
Tahnee Gonzales, 32, and Elizabeth Dauenhauer, 51, of Tempe, Arizona, appear to have filmed themselves wandering through the mosque last week.
The video, which was livestreamed to Facebook, shows two women grabbing pamphlets and ripping down flyers, with at least three children in tow.
They ignored the no trespassing sign while taking things from the mosque and passing derogatory remarks against Islam.
Gonzales and Dauenhauer were arrested several days later and charged with third degree burglary. Tempe Police spokeswoman Lily Duran told reporters the charge could be upgraded to a hate crime. The women were released on bail Friday but ordered to wear electronic monitoring bracelets.
The video was later shared by many users later, records the women and children entering a courtyard.
“Look at this mosque, here in our backyard in America,” Ms. Gonzales said in the video, adding, “This is the infiltration of the Arabic Muslim coming in and destroying America.”
When a Muslim man walked out of the mosque Ms. Gonzales shouted: “We’re coming after you, we the people. That’s right; you guys are on your way out.”
The women can be heard yelling derogatory comments about Muslims and Islam which they claim is infiltrating their “nice suburban city”.
The children are yet to be identified but one of them addressed Gonzales as “mom”. All the children can be heard bashing and insulting Islam as well.
Sgt. Ronald Elcock, the spokesman for the Tempe Police Department, said the women were charged with third-degree burglary. If they are convicted and a judge determines it was a hate crime, “it will enhance the sentencing,” he added.
The imam at the mosque, Ahmad Al-Akoum, said “We’re used to this kind of stuff,” he said. “But for somebody to just act so brazen, to come inside somebody else’s property and take things without permission, this is new.”
“As for myself I am very saddened that those women are dragging their young innocent children into this and teaching them to hate,” he said.
“Those children are being given false information. I am so sad for them.”
The police have increased patrols in the area and the mosque is considering hiring private security workers.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which collects data on hate crimes, said anti-Muslim incidents spiked in the first half of 2017. At the time, CAIR coordinator Zainab Arain attributed some of the rising violence to the election of President Donald Trump.
Gonzales’s Facebook profile shows her posed in front of an American flag with Mr Trump’s face on it, wearing a “Make America Great Again