SAN CARLOS PARK, Fla. – Two Lee County Muslim families who live on the same street believe they may have been the victims of a hate crime.
They said they were ridiculed and their homes vandalized… and even broken into.
Families who live along Love Road in San Carlos Park said they have become hostile in recent weeks.
Hassan said when he and his family moved into the neighborhood, a sheriff’s deputy came to check on them and make sure they were doing well.
Since they arrived here from Palestine, they say it has been difficult.
“We have peace. We love everyone. We want everyone to love us at the same time,” said Hassan.
His wife said that recently a group of youths in the area teased her.
“They make sign language with their hands and make fun of me because of the way I was dressed. Since then, we have not gone out,” he said.
But on Thursday night, the family said someone tried to kick in their door with their children inside.
“My wife was behind the door in the house and she was trying to open the door in fear,” explained Hassan.
Mohamed Al Darsani owns a house across the street and also said his property was vandalized on Thursday night.
“They destroyed the windows on the first floor … they destroyed the glass on my car,” Al Darsani said.
He said someone also ripped out his phone lines and spray painted graffiti on his path and said he believed he was being targeted because he was Muslim.
He believes that a group of teenagers is responsible.
“Nobody was checked except for these two houses. I have been living here for 31 years and I didn’t have a single problem until these young people came,” Al Darsani said.
The Lee County Sheriff confirmed that his office was investigating.
“Our district detectives are out there knocking on doors looking for witnesses. At this time, there is nothing to show us that would lead us to think that it is a hate crime or that they are being targeted,” said Sheriff Carmine Marceno.
The sheriff confirmed that his office was monitoring the area, looking for anyone who threatens people or breaks the law. He encourages anyone with information to report it to authorities.