Palm Beach County to Prosecute Hate Crime Suspect

February 19, 2003

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

On February 19, 2003 the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that "a Boca Raton construction company owner pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a misdemeanor hate crime for setting fire to a wooden sign announcing the new site of an Islamic community center and mosque... George Aboujawdeh, 46, faces up to a year in jail for torching the 4-by-8-foot sign on the vacant lot that is the future home of the Assalam Center. He is the first person in Palm Beach County to be prosecuted for a hate crime targeting Muslims since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks... Two Boca Raton police officers arrested Aboujawdeh after watching him douse the sign with lighter fluid and flee as it went up in flames. Police had been watching the sign for six weeks after it had been hacked with an ax and twice set on fire."