Fort Collins, Colorado was shaken over the weekend when a local mosque was vandalized in what appears to be a religiously motivated hate crime. Smashed windows and overturned furniture were discovered at the Islamic Center of Fort Collins, with a Bible inside. The suspect is reportedly a man in his early 20s.
Whoever was behind it reportedly turned over garbage bins and benches outside the Islamic Center, and then used a rock or brick to break through glass windows and get inside.
Despite the appearance of a religious bias behind the attack, police are not drawing conclusions until they investigate further. “We don’t know what the motive was,” Sgt. Dean Cunningham told FOX31. “We know what the damage that was done and it’s early in an investigation, and so we’ll look into it and let the facts guide us to where we go.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on law enforcement officials on the state and federal levels to look into what happened as a hate crime, Denver’s ABC7 reported.
Tawfik Aboellail, the president of the Islamic Center, said he felt “fear first, and concern and frustration second.”
Members of other local religious groups are supporting the Muslim congregation. Christians joined in solidarity and Rabbi Hillel Katzir of local synagogue Temple Or Hadash said, “People of faith know that an attack on one house of worship is an attack on all houses of worship and we need to be out here making a statement.”
Congressman Jared Polis commented on the incident, which took place in his district.
The vandalism that occurred at the Islamic Center in Ft. Collins is unacceptable. It’s time for us to stand in unity. These acts must end.
— Rep. Jared Polis (@RepJaredPolis) March 26, 2017
Police first responded to the scene after receiving a report early Sunday morning. Authorities estimate the damage as being in the thousands of dollars.
[Image via Denver7 screengrab]