by Harry Shipps
News | 3/9/10
The Muslim Student Association suite, located in the Usdan Student
Center, was vandalized on March 5, according to an e-mail to members
of the association from Neda Eid '11, a member of the MSA executive
According to the e-mail, an individual or individuals attempted to
open a painted-over door in Imam Talal Eid's office, and many of the
imam's "desk materials were touched and unplugged. The lamps in the
suite (most of them in the prayer room) were all turned upside down
and unplugged." Neda Eid added in a later e-mail to the Justice that
"most of the permanent damage was to the wall in Imam Eid's office."
Imam Eid told the Justice that his phone and computer were
disconnected and that a valuable Quran was missing from his desk. He
also said it was evident that the vandals had not removed their shoes,
a rule members of the MSA had instituted after the recent renovations,
before walking "where we pray and all over the place."
Imam Eid said that he "could not believe it" when he discovered the
vandalism. The MSA suite had recently undergone renovation, and Imam
Eid said that he first called the contractor to see whether they were
doing work in the suite. When the contractor said that no work was
being done, Imam Eid contacted the Brandeis Police Department.
When asked what her reaction to the vandalism was, Neda Eid wrote in
her e-mail to the Justice that she felt "mostly shock, anger and
frustration. Over winter break, the MSA finally got the university's
OK to begin the renovation of the suite. Its [sic] only been about
2-3weeks [sic] that we've been using the new suite. â€¦ Thus, it's a
huge disappointment that our open worshipping space has now been a
means of immature actions and religious observance disrespect."
Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan said that an investigation into
the details and the motives behind the vandalism is currently ongoing.
The University Police will "initiate some sporadic checks of the room
and check in with people to make them feel comfortable and make sure
that no other incidents were happening," according to Callahan, but he
declined to go into detail about the times or duration of such checks.
Callahan said that anyone found responsible for the crime could be
charged with vandalism and that the crime might also constitute a hate
crime if there is an apparent bias toward Muslims or another specific
group of people.
Neda Eid wrote in her e-mail to the Justice, "No matter what the
suspected motivations are, I believe this vandalism should be treated
like a hate crime by the Brandeis community and Police department."
Imam Eid said that he has received a great deal of support from the
University Police and from other members of the chaplaincy. Imam Eid
suggested that the vandalism could have been motivated by the
increased visibility of the Muslim community on campus, specifically a
new sign for the Muslim Worship Center in the foyer of the Usdan
Neda Eid wrote in her e-mail that a card access system will now be
installed in the suite in order to "secure the safety and welcoming
atmosphere of our worshipping space on campus."
by Harry Shipps