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Chicago-area man charged in connection with shooting at mosque

A man was charged over the weekend with shooting at a Chicago-area mosque, in what an Islamic group described as a disturbing act of violence, according to a local report.

The man, David Conrad, 51, lives near the mosque in suburban Morton Grove, according to authorities, The Chicago Tribune reported

Police charged Conrad with three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and one count of criminal damage to property, the Tribune reported.  Police, have confiscated a" high-velocity air rifle" from Conrad's home, the newspaper added.

Officers earlier went to the Muslim Education Center to investigate a complaint that a projectile hit the building in the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove on Friday night, Morton Grove police Chief Mark Erickson told Reuters in a phone interview.

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A security guard heard a projectile hit the outside wall of the mosque and police who responded were told pellets had previously been fired through the windows of the center, Erickson said.

"It's important to note that no injuries were reported from any of these incidents," he said.

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The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said on Saturday that worshippers had heard shots fired at the building on Friday night.

"We are gravely concerned that we are seeing the rising level of Islamophobic rhetoric in our society translate into violent behavior," CAIR-Chicago executive director Ahmed Rehab said in a statement.

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Islamic institutions seeking to open in some parts of the United States in recent years have faced local opposition that Muslim groups and civil rights advocates have decried as dangerous examples of religious intolerance.

In Tennessee on Friday, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro opened to prayer services after a two-year fight that saw opposition to the mosque become a surprise issue in a Tennessee Republican Congressional primary.

Reuters contributed to this report.  

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