1. What happened? What is the nature of the crime?
A security guard (Humzah Hashmi) who was assigned by a contractor firm to work at ICI was arrested at ICI premises on the charges of aggravated sexual assault of a minor. Law enforcement has classified the charge as a first-degree felony.
2. When and where did this crime take place?
The exact date of the alleged crime has not been shared by the Irving PD, but we have been told that the assault took place sometime between August 2016 and June 2017, in an empty classroom at the Islamic School of Irving.
3. When did ICI become aware of the situation?
The arrest was made during the evening hours of Wednesday, May 1st, 2019. ICI learned of the arrest at the time it took place but was not informed of the nature of the charge until the early hours of Thursday, May 2nd. Soon after that, ICI contacted the Irving Police Department to confirm the information, request additional information, and extend support and assistance in completing the investigation.
4. When and how was the community informed about the matter?
ICI made an announcement to congregants after Fajr prayers, early Thursday morning on May 2nd. The Imam made an announcement to all the attendees after Fajr (morning prayers). Islamic School of Irving notified parents by email later on the same day. ICI leadership again informed the congregation that evening, alongside Irving PD who addressed the community.
5. Can I get more details on the investigation?
Irving PD is proceeding with the investigation with utmost care and sensitivity for the well-being of the victim and the victim’s family. The Department has provided guidance to ICI to share with the community, and ICI is committed to keeping the community informed as the law enforcement investigation progresses. ICI has extended its full support to law enforcement in this matter.
6. What was the role of the man who was arrested at ICI?
The arrest was made against Humzah Hashmi, who grew up in the Irving community. Mr. Hashmi was employed by a security company with which ICI had a security contract, and he was assigned to ICI. Mr. Hashmi also held a volunteer role on the Shura body, which is a 30-member representative body of the general membership. He has never served on the Shura Council, which is ICI’s executive board.
7. Did he lead youth activities at ICI?
Mr. Hashmi once volunteered to collect and compile feedback from a survey that was given to the youth, but none of his other volunteer activities were youth-focused.
8. Were there any warning signs or prior charges against Mr. Hashmi?
No, not to ICI’s knowledge. Like all security guards assigned to ICI, Mr. Hashmi underwent and passed a thorough background check by the security company. He was also a commissioned officer, meaning he was authorized by the State of Texas to carry arms; that level of authorization process entails additional training and security checks. Although the alleged assault occurred approximately two to three years ago, neither ICI nor law enforcement were previously informed of the allegations.
9. How can I be sure children and other attendees are safe at ICI?
While this incident allegedly occurred two to three years ago, ICI has taken several precautionary measures since that time to continuously improve all aspects of safety and security, especially given tragic events worldwide and across the nation in recent times. These include (but are not limited to) increased security presence and coverage, a wider, more comprehensive surveillance area, community trainings for Active Shooter Responses, and Defense against Rape and Aggression, and signage to improve awareness.
ICI takes security and safety very seriously but recognizes that the best remedy is prevention, which involves educating and informing community members to be vigilant, and to avoid boundary violations. Parents should also not leave children unattended and unsupervised. We seek and expect this level of cooperation from all visitors and attendees for the community to be safe. This arrest, of course, is especially unsettling because Mr. Hashmi held a position that was part of ICI’s security measures. ICI has no information to indicate that the security company that employed Mr. Hashmi was lax in its hiring practices or supervision.
10. What kind of security measures are in place at Islamic School of Irving?
On top of the security arrangements that ICI has in place, ISI has additional safety measures in place, some of which are:
· Running name checks against public offender lists when issuing visitor badges.
· Extra security guards during school hours
· Establishing perimeters around the school zone.
· Staff training to stop and question unidentified individuals.
· Conducting several age appropriate conversations with students about appropriate and inappropriate contact with adults.
· Implementing an anonymous reporting app accessible to students, teachers and parents.
In the coming days, we will be launching additional programs with a view to educate and empower community members to play a key role in keeping the Center safe for all.
11. Did ICI change security companies? If so, why?
Yes, ICI recently changed the security company. ICI regularly evaluates our existing practices and contracts to identify ways they can be improved. This change had been discussed for a while, even prior to the recent arrest. The new security company has worked with other Islamic Centers and is experienced in providing trainings for active shooter responses. ICI evaluated several different security company candidates and determined that this new company best met ICI’s current and future expectations.
12. How can I help?
All parents in the community are urged to have age appropriate conversations with their children. The American Academy of Pediatrics has published guidance on talking with children about sexual abuse and creating an environment in which children can share any concerns with parents. https://patiented.solutions.aap.org/handout.aspx?gbosid=156408&username=officite&password=webS1te. Parents may also want to ask open-ended questions to their children about whether they know the security guards at ICI and whether a security guard has ever done anything that the child has not liked or thought was strange. Any information about inappropriate behavior should be reported directly to Irving PD at (972) 273‑1010.
13. Where do I get updates on in this incident?
ICI will continue to update this page as additional information becomes available.