Islamic Society baffled by incident at worship service

The Muslim community gathered Sunday, Sept. 28, 48 hours after an unknown irritant disrupted worship at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton. "We were in the midst of the Fifth Prayer when people started coughing," said Ismail Gula, the society's secretary. Gula said the building was evacuated and the service to break the daily fast of Ramadan continued at a nearby facility. He said he had no idea what might have caused the incident. "It might be anything," he said. Gula said he had received many calls of support from Christians and Jews over the weekend. When Dayton fire and emergency personnel arrived at 26 Josie St. on Friday night, they noticed an odor. HAZMAT workers checked the structure for pepper spray and other irritants, but found nothing. Police said they were continuing their investigation. Also on Sunday, members of several Dayton religious groups were scheduled to view and discuss a DVD about Islamic radicalism mailed to some area homes and circulated with newspapers here and around the country. "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," was a paid advertising insert in the Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun, Hamilton JournalNews and Middletown Journal, all owned by Cox Ohio Publishing, on Monday, Sept. 22. It appeared in more than 70 other newspapers nationwide. The Rev. Gary Percesepe, executive director of Greater Dayton Christian Connections, characterized the DVD as "fanning the flames of fear and prejudice against Muslims, with the potential to inspire hate crimes." More on Dayton Daily News, 28.09.08.

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