Hattiesburg City Council adopts resolution to support Islamic Center

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - On May 20, Hattiesburg City Council members adopted a resolution stating that they will not stand for violence against any form of worship in the wake of an unsolved crime that left several bullet holes in a house of worship within the city limits.

"They are against any kind of violence toward any kind of worship; Muslims, Jews, Christians, or any kind of other things," said Jerry Buti, Hattiesburg Islamic Center Vice President and Imam.

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree addressed the resolution in a prepared statement on Tuesday:

"One of the main freedoms this country was founded upon was the freedom to worship, and this freedom is one that remains sacred to all of us. The City of Hattiesburg will not tolerate anyone who invades a religious facility and/or violate the rights of those with beliefs different from theirs."

On March 18, members of the Center arrived to morning prayer and discovered two bullet holes in the building. The FBI is still investigating the motive behind the incident. Hattiesburg police investigated, but no arrests have been made. The walls and windows were damaged. The windows were repaired by a local glass company for free. No one was in the building at the time of the shooting.

Members of the Center said at the time they believed five shots had been fired into the building, three lodged in the front, and two passed from the front to the back. No one was at the building at the time of the shooting.

The Hattiesburg City Council is the fourth group to step forward in support of The Center. Other groups include the The University of Southern Mississippi Senate, Westminster Presbyterian Church, and Parkway Heights United Methodist Church.

Two Pine Belt pastors from the aforementioned churches joined worship services at the Islamic Center of Hattiesburg on April 25 in an act of solidarity and to express condolences for the shooting that took place at The Center.

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