CAIR-Philadelphia Condemns Vandalism Targeting Historic AME Church in Philadelphia, Stands in Solidarity with Congregation

(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 2/20/2024) – The Philadelphia Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia) today condemned the vandalism targeting the historic Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. 

SEE: 134-Year-Old Historic Church Vandalized in Philadelphia’s Society Hill

The vandalism took place on Monday February 19 morning and, according to media reports, caused $15,000 in damages. A vandal is seen throwing rocks at the Church’s windows before running away. 

In a statement, CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Dr. Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu said:

“I was at Mother Bethel AME church last week with interfaith leaders for the launch of Pilgrimage for Peace walk. Mother Bethel AME church in Philadelphia has been on the forefront of communal struggles addressing issues such as criminal justice, voting rights, and other communal concerns, including the Ceasefire Now movement. Our community stands in solidarity with Rev. Dr. Mark Kelly Tyler and his congregation. Having experienced 4 mosque vandalizations targeting our mosque communities, we know fully well the trauma this kind of hateful attacks create in our communities. We call on authorities to diligently investigate this incident.”

SEE: How Gaza turned everything upside down for the Black church and Biden

CAIR-Philadelphia tracked over 15 anti-mosque incidents in Pennsylvania in the last 8 years; many of them happening in the aftermath of deadly New Zealand attacks. These include vandalization of Masjid Al-Jamia in December 2023, Khair Community Center in November 2023, United Muslim Islamic Center in October 2023 and Masjidullah Center for Human Excellence in February 2023 as well as the 2019 vandalization of Norristown Islamic Society, and the 2017 arson attempt targeting Upper Darby Islamic Center Masjid Al Madinah. 

In December 2023 Islamic Center of Delaware County reported receipt of hate mail and Islamic Community Center of Lancaster experienced an effort at anti-Muslim proselytizing during their Friday prayers.

CAIR-Philadelphia urged the local Muslim community and other religious institutions to take extra security precautions by using advice offered in CAIR’s booklet, “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu, PhD; 617-401-5397 (mobile),

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