Beliefnet
(RNS) In two thefts in less than one week, the Islamic Society ofOrange County in Garden Grove, Calif., lost more than $10,000 inworshippers' contributions.

Garden Grove Police Detective Aaron Nelson said police received areport on Sept. 16 of an approximately $8,000 loss at the mosque. Duringthe investigation, police learned of a theft earlier in the week thatmosque officials had not reported, Nelson said.

Islamic Society religious director Muzammil Siddiqi said a bankdeposit in the amount of $2,700 had been taken Sept. 11 or 12. The nextloss was the uncounted collection from Friday's prayer service. Siddiqiestimated the second theft as between $8,000 and $10,000.

"This is the money that the people gave for the mosque expenses,"Siddiqi said. While most of the stolen funds were for the mosque'songoing needs, "some of it was a special charity for poor people," hesaid. The religious director said the collection had come fromindividual contributions in small amounts. "Mostly these are workingclass people."

With 1,500 to 2,000 worshippers typically gathering for Fridayprayer, the mosque is Orange County's largest.

While the investigation is ongoing, Nelson said, Garden Grove Policehave no suspects. Nelson said police have found nothing to identify thethefts as hate crimes.

Noting that in Islam theft "is a major sin," Siddiqi called thelosses "a sad thing." He said the mosque is putting bars outside itswindows and installing an alarm. The thefts were the first in themosque's approximately 30 year history, Siddiqi said.

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