New Britain police are investigating a possible hate crime in front of an Arch Street home after a man found a shirt hanging on his utility pole.
Omer Abdelgader is a native of Sudan and has been a New Britain resident for the last 27 years. He is also the president of the Islamic Center of Central Connecticut.
On Wednesday, he left his home around 1 p.m. for afternoon prayers. When he returned from the mosque about 40 minutes later, he found a shirt hanging on a utility pole outside of his home with statements referring to ISIS and the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"What it makes me sad is it’s in front of my house. Out of all the houses in the neighborhood- right here hanging in front of my house," Abdelgader said.
On the shirt are messages asking "what is your plan?" and "are you supporting or possible terrorism?" One question of extremism is also displayed.
The statement that stuck out most to Omer's daughter, Ebaa Mohmed, is on the center of the shirt and reads "911 was not a joke."
"I was like, 'why would they be directing that towards us?' Like what does that mean? As if we’re going to do something worse than 9/11," she said.
"On the other side of the shirt also, ‘ISIS or ISOL'," Abdelgader said. "What is really hurting me and making me feel sad is my message of love and peace and doing good in my community hasn’t gone through to everybody yet."
A second shirt was also left outside the house, but Abdelgader said there were no phrases of hate or intimidation on it.
The New Britain Police Department is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. The police chief calls New Britain a diverse community and told NBC Connecticut a crime like this is rare in the city.
Investigators are looking for witnesses who may have seen or heard anything between 1 p.m. and about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday on Arch Street and asking them to call police
As for whoever left the shirts hanging outside of Abdelgader’s home, he wants to invite them to the Islamic Association of Central Connecticut on Arch Street in New Britain so that they can learn more about the Islamic culture.