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Laurel Police investigate crash as possible hate crime

Laurel Police said Saturday they are investigating a tractor-trailor that crashed into an Islamic Community Center earlier this week as a possible hate crime.

Laurel Police said Saturday they are investigating a tractor-trailor crash into a mosque earlier this week as a possible hate crime.

The Council on American Islamic Relations has also called for a federal probe into Monday's incident, in which a tractor trailer was caught on video around 11 p.m., apparently backing up twice into the Islamic Community Center on Contee Road before driving away. Laurel Police called for help identifying the truck.

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The crash damaged an awning and railing at the mosque, which has been the subject of other threats, said Zainab Chaudry, a spokeswoman and Maryland Outreach Manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which released a statement about the crash on Friday.

Chaudry said the Muslim community has been worried as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches and threats around the country have increased. She welcomed the Laurel police department's decision to reclassify the incident, which had been identified initially as vandalism.

"The circumstances under which this incident happened put the community on edge so we want to make sure we get to the bottom of it," she said, noting that it was unusual for such a large truck to be in the largely residential area.

Audrey Barnes, a spokeswoman for Laurel, said the police reclassified the incident after reviewing the footage.

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