Two Arizona women, Tahnee Gonzales and Elizabeth Dauenhauer, were arrested on suspicion of felony third-degree burglary after an investigation into theft and vandalism at a Tempe mosque revealed that the two women, along with three unidentified children, trespassed on the property of the Islamic Community Center earlier this month, an act that they recorded on Facebook live.
The two women were booked into the Tempe City Jail on Thursday afternoon. Based on details of the incident shown in the videos, an enhanced charge involving hate crime may be considered for sentencing, Duran said.
In the series of videos posted to Facebook, the women are seen gathered in a car with Gonzales in the passenger seat narrating the group’s plans to “expose the mosque” with Dauenhauer driving and three children listening closely in the backseat. Upon arrival, the women began ripping flyers from a bulletin board and stealing other materials from the outdoor hallway. The women then praise their children for the burglary.
The children are then seen climbing upon the mosque’s funeral van while one of the women warns a boys about the “dead Muslims” and “sex goats” that she says were once stored in the truck.
Throughout the videos, the women are heard encouraging the children using racist and Islamophobic language.
“Be careful, because Muslims are waiting to rape you,” the young girl is heard telling one of the boys at one point in the video.
One of videos posted by Gonzales has since been taken down but was reposted on a number of other accounts, including a Facebook page under the name Naui Ocelot that has accumulated over 10,000 views. The other two videos are still on Gonzales’ personal Facebook page. Dauenhauer has since removed her Facebook account.
The videos shocked the Muslim community in Tempe when the community members reviewed the brazen footage. Civil rights organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Anti-Defamation League, condemned the incident as “extremely disturbing and ugly on so many levels”.
Ahmad Al-Akoum, the operations director and acting imam of the Tempe center, said the video’s scenes of children being led to hate were the most distrubing to him.
“What really affected me the most is seeing those young children getting real-life lessons in hate, that was the thing that made me really, really upset with those people,” Al-Akoum said. “Those innocent 5, 6-year-old children are now really learning hate from their parents. It’s really disheartening.”
Here is one of the videos the two women posted to facebook:
Here is another one: