No charges in E.L. Quran burning
Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III will not seek charges against the suspect who allegedly burned an Quran in front of the Islamic Center of Greater Lansing. Dunnings said there was no criminal offense he could charge under Michigan law for the incident, in which a burnt cover of the Quran was found outside the front door of the building.
“His conduct was not in violation of any criminal statues of the state of Michigan,” Dunnings said of the unidentified suspect. “I only have authority to bring charges to bring criminal status under the state of Michigan.”
The cover was found outside the front door of the building Sept. 11, and members of the Islamic Center noticed torn pages of the Quran in front of the mosque. The incident happened in conjunction with the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr. It also was the day Florida Pastor Terry Jones’ attempted to create “International Burn a Koran Day.”
Abdalmajid Katranji, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Greater Lansing said the center was pleased with how the case was handled and the outcome of the investigations.
“We have come to understand, given the evidence that was available and the testimony of the individual, there was insufficient evidence or data to identify any rule or law that was violated or broken,” Katranji said.
Katranji said the incident inspired unity within the greater Lansing area, and that the center was ready to move on from the vandalism to greater things.
“People from all groups have come together and stood united that in our community here acts such as this are unacceptable,” Katranji said. “We hope this young man seeks to use this event to make him a better person. We’ve forgiven him for our part.”
Several days after the incident, a $10,000 reward fund for information leading to the identification of the person or persons involved was announced during the Sept. 14 East Lansing City Council’s Tuesday work session. East Lansing police Chief Tom Wibert said the reward helped lead to the identification of the suspect.
“The reward was very effective,” Wibert said in an e-mail. “Within two hours of the press release, we received our first call and it was the person who did it, wanting to clear things up. He was interviewed that morning and we established with out a doubt that he was the person responsible.”
None of the reward money was used, Wibert said.
Dunnings said the FBI was involved in looking at the case. FBI spokesperson Sandra Berchtold said the FBI worked with the East Lansing police, but said she could not confirm or deny if the investigation was ongoing or if charges were going to be filed through the US Attorney’s office.
Gina Balaya, spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s office in Detroit, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.