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Video: CAIR Calls for Hate Crime Probe of Vandalism at Virginia Mosque

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Uploaded on Jan 31, 2012

Police Investigate Vandalized Chantilly Mosque
Damage estimated to be $60,000
By Gregg MacDonald, Staff Writer, Fairfax Times, 1/31/12
http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/article/2...

Fairfax County Police are investigating vandalism to an Islamic mosque that had been scheduled to open next month in Chantilly.

Vandals smashed glass in windows and doors of the mosque, causing an estimated $60,000 in damage, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has put out a release asking for the FBI to investigate. "Any time a house of worship is targeted in this manner, law enforcement authorities must consider a possible bias motive," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

Fairfax County Police responded to the construction site of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Mosque, located at 4555 Ahmadiyya Drive on Monday shortly after 8:30 a.m., they said. Police found extensive damage to the mosque, which is still under construction, but found no evidence that the building was entered.

Detectives and bloodhounds were used to collect evidence, police said. In addition to evidence related to the destruction, several discarded containers of alcohol were discovered, according to police spokesman Bud Walker. "Those containers are being processed for evidence," he said. "I believe there were both cans and bottles."

Although the investigation is still in its preliminary stages, police believe at this time that the vandalism was a random act and not a hate crime, Walker said. They said they did not find any graffiti or other writings at the scene.

"At this stage it appears to have been some young people who consumed alcohol and then made some bad choices, but there does not appear to be any indication that the facility was targeted because it was a mosque," Walker said Tuesday.

But according to Hooper, mosque officials believe the site was specifically targeted because of the extent of the damage and the fact that nothing was stolen.

The FBI's Washington, D.C., field office has not yet indicated whether or not it will join the investigation. Calls made to the office on Tuesday were not immediately returned.

"This is not something that we would traditionally request the FBI's assistance on," Walker said, but of course it is up to them whether or not they will investigate."

According to Hooper, the opening of the mosque, which has been anticipated for the last decade, will now be delayed due to the vandalism.

Police said records are being checked to see if any other area Islamic structures have been vandalized and that local neighborhoods surrounding the mosque are being canvassed by officers seeking information.

"A number of recent reports have documented the growth and promotion of Islamophobia nationwide," Hooper said.

gmacdonald@fairfaxtimes.com

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