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Security officer warns businesses after fatal South Nashville …

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) A man died from a stabbing Thursday morning, and businesses in the South Nashville area tell News 2 they are sick of crime. Joshua Taylor, 19, was stabbed outside the Gold Star Market on Murfreesboro Pike. Taylor died at the scene. Security guard, Pauline Spalding, has worked across the street from the convenience store for seven years.

She has witnessed frequent crime in the area, and thinks businesses need to be proactive.

I worry about everybody and I tell everybody when they move in, do not go across the street due to that fact, said Spalding. I m honest with them. I don t want them stabbed. I don t want them robbed, but it s a constant issue for both.

Mitchell Tarver was arrested at a nearby homeless camp for the stabbing.

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As Ramadan Draws To An End, Mosques Worry About Security


The last few days of the holy month of Ramadan are supposed to be a joyous time of the year for American Muslims. Spiritually, it s believed to be a time when God blesses and forgives. The holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, is observed with prayers, food, gifts, and community bonding. But this year, as Muslims await the beginning of Eid on Sunday or Monday[1], some are also full of anxiety about safety. Mosques hold special prayers and other activities during the final days of Ramadan, and attendance at worship centers swells, making mosque leaders especially concerned about security. Against a backdrop of increased anti-Muslim hate crimes and rhetoric[2], sometimes simply going to a mosque to pray can be an act of courage.

As Ramadan Draws To An End, Mosques Worry About Security Anadolu Agency via Getty Images A child sits during a prayer on Laylat al-Qadr on the 27th day of the fasting month of Ramadan in New Jersey, United States on June 21, 2017.

American mosques have been targets for vandalism and other criminal acts for more than a decade[3]. Many have responded by installing elaborate security systems with cameras and alarms in their worship spaces, and training members to watch for suspicious behavior. But over the past year, there s been a dramatic uptick in anti-Muslim hate crime and rhetoric. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy organization, recorded a 57-percent rise in anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2016[4] from the year before. This included acts of vandalism and arson against mosques. Since Ramadan began on May 26, CAIR has recorded eight possible attacks on mosques. Zainab Arain, coordinator of CAIR s department to monitor and combat Islamophobia, told HuffPost that the frequency of the anti-mosque incidents during Ramadan seemed comparable with the rest of the year.

But recent incidents including an attack on a mosque in north London[5] and the baseball-bat killing of Muslim teenager Nabra Hassanen[6] in Virginia have made some community leaders especially apprehensive about the coming days. On Monday, CAIR called on Muslim communities[7] to take extra security measures for the end o Ramadan and for Eid including requesting extra police patrols and hiring private security officers authorized to carry firearms.

Because of the recent spike in hate incidents particularly those targeting American Muslim women and girls and because Islamic religious institutions have been targeted recently in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, we urge local communities to implement increased security measures during end-of-Ramadan activities and through the Eid ul-Fitr holiday that follows, Nihad Awad, CAIR s national executive director, said in a statement.[8]

As Ramadan Draws To An End, Mosques Worry About Security Courtesy Noor Islamic Cultural Center The Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Ohio has created a detailed security plan over the past few years.

The Noor Islamic Cultural Center[9] is a large complex in Dublin, Ohio, that serves a diverse community of Muslims in the central part of the state. Imran Malik, the center s outreach director and president, told HuffPost the center began receiving threatening phone calls and hate mail about three years ago. Mosque leaders have worked hard since then to put safety measures into place, upgrading cameras and alarms, and hiring private armed and unarmed security guards during big events.

Security concerns become even more important during the last few days of Ramadan, when Malik estimated as many as 3,000 people attend services at the mosque daily. During the holy month, security costs reach $600 per night, he said. But during the last 10 nights of the month, costs soar to about $1,000 per night, he said. Malik said the center spends up to $70,000 per year on security. The added cost has taken a significant toll on our finances, Malik said. But mosque leaders want to make sure everyone coming to the center feels safe.

Luckily, so far we haven t run into any issues, Malik said. But we don t want to stay at ease and then have something bad happen. We always want to be proactive. Mosque leaders in other parts of the country also prioritize security during Ramadan.

Imam Talib M. Shareef, of The Nation s Mosque, Masjid Muhammad, in Washington, D.C., said he s asked local police to be at the mosque during Eid, in addition to a volunteer community-based security team. Kalim Ahmed, a board member at the Islamic Society of Western Maryland, told HuffPost the attacks in Virginia and London have escalated Muslims fears about safety, both individually and when they come together. Ahmed said his mosque has installed security cameras, an alarm system, and a large metal entrance gate. Leaders have asked law enforcement to patrol the area, and have recruited community volunteers to stay on the lookout for suspicious activity.

As Ramadan Draws To An End, Mosques Worry About Security Harrison McClary / Reuters The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Murfreesboro, Tennessee has been the subject of protests and court battles.

Saleh M. Sbenaty, a spokesman for the Islamic Center Of Murfreesboro in Tennessee, said the 35-year-old religious congregation began having security troubles[10] after purchasing land for a permanent mosque. Sbenaty said the mosque, which was completed in 2012[11], has already installed a video system and door-entry security. During Ramadan, leaders usually take extra security measures, including limiting points of entry, hiring a private security guard, and giving volunteers the task of being vigilant during services. Sbenaty said that tragic events like the Virginia slaying and the attack on the London mosque put his community on edge, especially because we live on the outskirt of a small city in Middle Tennessee.

Our center has endured seven years of harassments, bomb threats, arson, threats and so on and so forth, Sbenaty said.

The Islamic Center of Nashville has taken efforts this year to maintain its close relationship with local law enforcement. Rashed Fakhruddin, the center s president, told HuffPost that new police cadets visited the center earlier this Ramadan during a bus tour to learn about the city s diversity. The center has requested extra patrols during this year s Ramadan and Eid, Fakhruddin said.

As Ramadan Draws To An End, Mosques Worry About Security Courtesy Islamic Center of Nashville Police cadets listen to an informational session at the Islamic Center of Nashville during Ramadan.

Despite the security concerns of American Muslims, President Donald Trump[12] hasn t addressed the issue. Some Muslim leaders hope the president speaks against attacks on American mosques in the same way that he condemned a string of phone threats against Jewish community centers[13] nationwide earlier this year. (A suspect was charged[14] with making those threats.)

Malik, the leader from Ohio, said that he believes America s elected leaders are responsible for safeguarding the rights and safety of Muslim Americans and other minorities.

The Muslim community overall, throughout the nation, would appreciate such a [condemnation] from the president, Malik said. It would be a sign that the president is concerned about the security of not only one ethnicity, but everyone who has chosen America as their home.

But others, like Sbenaty, believe such talk wouldn t be enough. What American Muslims need are actions that will correct Islamophobic rhetoric and stop alienating religious minorities, he said.

Words will not be adequate, enough damage has been already done, Sbenaty said.


The Latest: West Virginia bracing for remnants of Cindy

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The Latest on Tropical Storm Cindy (all times local):

10:50 a.m.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – The National Weather Service says it expects heavy rain to spread across West Virginia starting late Thursday and continuing into Saturday.

Meteorologists say a combination of two systems – remnants of former Tropical Storm Cindy and another storm front – could produce severe thunderstorms, flooding and damaging wind gusts particularly on Friday. Emergency officials are monitoring the forecast starting late Thursday night in the greater Charleston area with expected heavy rain at times continuing into Friday and early Saturday. The severe weather forecast comes nearly on the anniversary of last year’s torrential rains and flooding, which killed 23 people in West Virginia.


10:00 a.m.

Forecasters say Cindy, the onetime tropical storm since downgraded to a depression, is weakening as it heads inland. But bands of heavy rain are continuing – with heavy rain in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says a tropical storm warning from High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana, has been discontinued, hours after the storm made landfall. At 10 a.m. CDT Thursday, Cindy was about 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Morgan City and moving to the north at 13 mph (20 kph).

A turn toward the northeast is expected. Cindy or its remnants are forecast to move into Arkansas early Friday, then into Tennessee. Forecasters warn that heavy rainfall will spread over the Tennessee and Ohio valleys Thursday. Then into the central Appalachians Friday and Saturday.


9:55 a.m. Forecasters have issued a flash flood watch for eastern and southern Arkansas as Tropical Storm Cindy heads toward the state.

The National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to weaken as its moves inland. The storm made landfall early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana. The National Weather Service in Little Rock says the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy will move into southern Arkansas later Thursday, bringing scattered thunderstorms and some areas of heavy rainfall. Forecasters say areas south and east of Little Rock could see 2 to 5 inches of rain through Saturday morning.

The flash flood watch is in effect from 7 p.m. Thursday through Friday afternoon.


8:10 a.m. Authorities in Florida are urging people to stay off the beaches and out of the Gulf of Mexico until weather conditions brought by Tropical Storm Cindy improve. Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford tells the News Herald deputies responded to 37 calls regarding swimmers in the Gulf on Tuesday as the storm brought heavy rain to Florida’s Panhandle.

The swimmers entered the water even though Panama City Beach was flying double-red flags, warning of dangerous conditions and extremely rough surf. Ford says lifeguards and deputies were fed up as tourists entered the water in spite of the warnings. There’s a law that bans swimming in the Gulf when double-red flags are flying. Ford says he’d rather people use common sense and not get in the water. There were no reports of injuries.


8 a.m.

In southwest Louisiana, not far from where Tropical Storm Cindy came ashore before dawn, motorists in trucks were driving through knee-high water in the streets. Some other drivers, though, were pulling over Thursday morning and not attempting to navigate the flooded roads in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. Shortly after dawn, some of the low-lying clouds were rotating, and gusty winds whipped across the landscape.

With the storm now over land, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it’s expected to weaken over the next two days. The storm was blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.


7:15 a.m. Tropical Storm Cindy has brought heavy winds and rain to southeast Texas but minimal damage as the storm system moves northeast.

Street and other flooding was reported in places such as Port Arthur, along Sabine Pass and the border with Louisiana, where Cindy made landfall early Thursday. Winds in the Galveston County town of San Leon exceeded 50 mph but were slightly weaker along other parts of the Texas coast southeast of Houston. The Houston area was expected to get a couple inches of rain through Thursday. A flash flood watch was issued for parts of East Texas.

The Texas Department of Transportation says all state roads and bridges are open in the area.


7 a.m. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Cindy is expected to weaken as it moves farther inland after coming ashore in southwestern Louisiana early Thursday. The storm’s maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (64 kph) and it’s expected to weaken to a tropical depression later in the morning and become a remnant low Thursday night.

As of 7 a.m. CDT, Cindy is centered about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and is moving north near 12 mph (19 kph). Already, the storm has been blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.


6 a.m. Floating colonies of fire ants could form in flood waters as Tropical Storm Cindy trudges inland.

That’s the warning from Alabama state officials, who say the insects known as red imported fire ants can present a potentially serious health threat to people and animals during severe flooding. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System said in a statement that the floating colonies may look like ribbons, streamers or a large ball of ants floating on the water. They say the floating blobs contain all members of the colony, including worker ants, winged reproductive males and females, and queen ants.

The storm made landfall in southwestern Louisiana before dawn Thursday, bringing rain and the threat of flash flooding and tornadoes.


4:05 a.m. Tropical Storm Cindy has made landfall in southwestern Louisiana, bringing rain and the threat of flash flooding and tornadoes. As of about 4 a.m. CDT Thursday, the storm was centered about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west-southwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and is moving north near 12 mph (19 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cindy’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40 mph (64 kph) with continued weakening expected over the next two days. Already, the storm has been blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.


2:05 a.m. Weather forecasters are expecting a third day of rough weather for Gulf Coast states as Tropical Storm Cindy approaches.

The storm was blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore. In addition to bands of drenching rain, the storm brought high winds and numerous, short-lived tornadoes and waterspouts. Most of the severe weather was to the east of the storm. Numerous coastal roads and highways flooded and there were scattered reports of power outages and building damage from wind or water.

Gulf Coast states were in for a third day of rough weather as Tropical Storm Cindy sloshed ashore early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana.

Already blamed for one death in Alabama, Cindy was expected to keep churning seas and spin off bands of severe weather from eastern Texas to northwestern Florida. The storm’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 40 mph (64 kph) Thursday morning with additional weakening expected, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. A boy on an Alabama beach was struck and killed Wednesday by a log washed ashore by the storm. Baldwin County Sheriff’s Capt. Stephen Arthur said witnesses reported the 10-year-old boy from Missouri was standing outside a condominium in Fort Morgan when the log, carried in by a large wave, struck him. Arthur said the youth was vacationing with his family from the St. Louis area and that relatives and emergency workers tried to revive him. He wasn’t immediately identified.

It was the first known fatality from Cindy. Otherwise, the storm was blamed for widespread coastal highway flooding, rough seas and scattered reports of power outages and building damage caused by high winds. There were numerous reports of waterspouts and short-lived tornadoes spawned by the storm. National Weather Service forecasters estimated the storm had dumped anywhere from 2 to 10 inches (50 to 250 millimeters) of rain on various spots along the Gulf Coast from southern Louisiana to the Florida panhandle as of Wednesday. And more rain was on the way. Alek Krautmann of the National Weather Service in Slidell, Louisiana, said Thursday’s pattern would likely be much like Wednesday’s: Bands of intermittent, sometimes heavy rain spinning onto the coast.

In Gulfport, Mississippi, Kathleen Bertucci said heavy rainfall Wednesday sent about 10 inches of water into her business, Top Shop, which sells and installs granite countertops.

“It’s pretty disgusting, but I don’t have flood insurance because they took me out of the flood zone,” said Bertucci, whose store is near a bayou. “We’re just trying to clean everything up and hope it doesn’t happen again.”

In nearby Biloxi, a waterspout moved ashore Wednesday morning. Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said there were no injuries but fences, trees and power lines were damaged. Storms also downed trees in the Florida Panhandle. Fort Walton Beach spokeswoman Jo Soria said fallen trees hit houses and cars in what she called “pockets of wind damage” in two or three residential neighborhoods. The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the storm Wednesday by Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, like his Alabama counterpart a day earlier. He was among authorities stressing that the storm’s danger wasn’t limited to the coast. In Knoxville, Tennessee, the power-generating Tennessee Valley Authority, said it was drawing down water levels on nine lakes it controls along the Tennessee River and its tributaries in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky, anticipating heavy runoff from Cindy’s rains once the storm moves inland. The TVA manages 49 dams to regulate water, provide power and help control downstream flooding. In Alabama, streets were flooded and beaches were closed on the barrier island of Dauphin Island. Some roads were covered with water in the seafood village of Bayou La Batre, but Becca Caldemeyer still managed to get to her bait shop open at the city dock. If only there were more customers, she said.

“It’s pretty quiet,” Caldemeyer said by phone from Rough Water Bait and Tackle. “Nobody can cast a shrimp out in this kind of wind.”

Rough seas also led to the rescue of a shrimp trawler in danger of sinking off the coast of Texas. The U.S. Coast Guard said crew of the trawler Footprint was about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Galveston when the crew radioed that the vessel was taking on water faster than onboard pumps could clear it. A helicopter crew lowered and extra pump that enabled the shrimp boat crew to clear enough water to stay afloat. A Coast Guard cutter escorted the vessel to Freeport, Texas.


Associated Press writers Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jeff Amy and Emily Wagster in Jackson, Mississippi; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Kimberly Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama; and Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida, contributed to this report.

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