Suspect arrested after West Oak Lane mosque vandalized

Mosque vandalism suspect
This image shows the suspect involved in vandalizing Masjidullah.
Philadelphia Police

Update: Police said Monday night that a suspect has been arrested in the case. They did not identify him or provide information about the charges he is expected to face.

A prominent West Oak Lane mosque was vandalized over the weekend, and a Muslim civil rights organization is calling on authorities to investigate whether the incident constitutes a hate crime.

Police on Monday released a surveillance image of the man who allegedly painted words and symbols – including “Jesus Christ,” a cross and a Star of David – outside Masjidullah – The Center for Human Excellence, at Limekiln Pike and Washington Lane.

The vandalism was reported early Sunday afternoon and occurred Friday just before midnight, according to investigators.

“We condemn this act of vandalism and urge local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to apprehend the perpetrator and to determine whether there was a bias motive for the incident,” said Mohammed Zubairu, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Philadelphia chapter and a Masjidullah member.

Representatives from the Masjidullah did not respond Monday; however, in a joint statement with Congregation Rodeph Shalom and the Perfecting Church, the mosque said it was “appalled and saddened” by the incident.

“As three distinct faith communities who work together for common understanding, we stand together once again in the face of bigotry and hate,” the statement continued. “Each of our traditions call us to love and know one another.”

“Together we pray for a time when peace and understanding will fill and encompass our entire Philadelphia region. And until that time, we will continue to work together to bring God’s greatest gift of peace to our city and our world.”

The three faith communities are co-hosting interfaith events on three consecutive Tuesdays next month to help people better understand Passover, Holy Week and Easter, and Ramadan.

Detectives described the suspect, who was caught on surveillance cameras, as a Black man in his late 40s who was wearing a navy blue hooded sweatshirt, dark-colored baseball hat and a tan backpack.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact PPD’s Northwest Detective Division at 215-686-3353/54; call or text 215-686-8477; or submit an anonymous tip at