The Islamic Community Center of Tempe, Arizona, is working with the local police department to investigate charges against two women who vandalized a mosque, bringing three children along for the defacing, HuffPost reported.
Three videos posted to Facebook on March 4, and since taken down by the original poster, show Tahnee Gonzales and Elizabeth Dauenhauer bringing three unidentified children on a trip with them to the community center’s mosque to “expose” them by collecting information, subsequently teaching the children how to be “American patriots,” the women say in the videos.
Throughout the three videos, the women spread Islamophobic, anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate speech to the children, with the second-youngest, a girl, parroting their words, remarking at how “they smell like goat” and how “Muslims are waiting to rape you.” The women call Muslims “devil Satan worshippers” and talk about “dead Muslims” and “sex goats,” throughout the videos, among other racist, misinformed insults.
The women take the children to Muslim-owned stores and restaurants next to the community center before they go to the mosque, where they take literature and tear notices off a bulletin board. While at the mosque, they run into a community member, who tries to talk to them but is shouted down by accusations of dog-eating and pedophilia. In the video, they also call Deedra Abboud, a Democratic Muslim woman running for U.S. Senate in Arizona, a threat to the U.S.
Tempe police confirmed the women in the video are Gonzales and Dauenhauer. Local publications report that the women were part of Patriot Movement AZ, a “fringe group being energized and influenced by the president’s over-the-top rhetoric on immigrants and Muslims,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Police say the department is investigating reports of trespassing on behalf of the community center, and that additional charges are likely to be filed.
While the original videos were taken down on Facebook, copies have since re-emerged. On Facebook, Abboud wrote she confirmed that Gonzales, the woman who operated the camera in the videos, was removed from Patriot Movement AZ before the incident, and she at least agrees with the group in condemning the women’s actions.
“The most jarring thing about the video is clearly the fact there are children involved, indoctrinated to hate people based off their belief system or what they look like or the color they are. You can see that unfolding in real time,” Imraan Siddiqi, the executive director of the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told HuffPost. “My hope for these children is that they are able to overcome the hate that is being taught to them by their parents.”