HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA – A mosque in Virginia has been vandalized amid angry protests in the Muslim world over a film produced in the United States denigrating the Prophet Muhammad.
On Friday, worshippers at the Islamic Center of the Shenandoah Valley in Harrisonburg arrived at their weekly prayer service to find graffiti on their building.
Rockingham County authorities say recent vandalism at the mosque and a Christian school could be linked to an earlier incident at a high school.
Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson tells The Daily News Record (http://bit.ly/UetXJM ) that investigators initially believed the defacing of the Spotswood High School sign was just a high school prank. Now, they are looking into whether that incident last Wednesday is connected to graffiti found Friday afternoon at the Islamic Center of Shenandoah Valley in Harrisonburg and Saturday morning at Redeemer Classical School in Keezletown.
Hutcheson says authorities believe the mosque and Christian school incidents are connected. Graffiti in both incidents was the same coloring and had the same content.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for an FBI investigation.
On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that about 30 cars parked on streets surrounding the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church had windows smashed. Police later said the vandalism appeared to be random and scattered over a large area.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate vandalism at a Virginia mosque as a possible hate crime.
Reports indicate that the Islamic Center of the Shenandoah Valley in Harrisonburg, Va., was vandalized sometime Thursday night with obscene hate graffiti, including racial slurs against African-Americans and vulgar references to Iraqis. The FBI has been contacted about the incident.
SEE: Vandalism on Harrisonburg Mosque
“Given the nature of the vandalism and ongoing international events, it is important that a bias motive be investigated in this case,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
Hooper said that CAIR’s Washington state chapter recently held a news conference in Seattle to call for a bias crime investigation of hate graffiti, including the slurs “sand n**gers,” “doon [sic] coons,” scrawled on a rental vehicle used by a group of Seattle-area Muslims on a recent vacation trip to Chelan, Wash.