Police investigate Fort Collins mosque vandalism | SummitDaily.com

Police investigate Fort Collins mosque vandalism

In this Sunday, March 26, 2017, still image from a video surveillance camera, a suspect is shown during the vandalizing of a mosque near Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Fort Collins police have said that the case is being investigated as a bias-motivated crime. (HO/Fort Collins Police Department via AP)
AP | Fort Collins, Colo., Police Depa

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person who overturned benches, broke windows and threw a Bible into a mosque near Colorado State University, a case they are investigating as a hate crime.

Police released two clips of surveillance video that captured the vandalism at the Islamic Center of Fort Collins before dawn Sunday. In one, a man wearing a hoodie, believed to be in his late teens or early 20s, is shown picking up a paving stone and walking away and in another, he kicks a door.

The center’s president, Tawfik Aboellail, said the man tried to break into the mosque about 4 a.m. Sunday but did not get inside.

The vandalism prompted the center to cancel religious classes for children that morning, but it has also led to an outpouring of support. The Coloradoan reports that congregants from Plymouth Congregational Church visited after their morning service and later about 1,000 people gathered at the mosque for a rally of support organized by a rabbi Sunday evening.

“The criminal act against their sacred space is unacceptable.”John HuttoFort Collins Police Chief

Many have also been making donations online to pay for repairs and improved security.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations had urged police to investigate the case as a possible hate crime.

Police Chief John Hutto, who attended the support rally, said the incident has a “very real impact on our Muslim friends and neighbors.”

“The criminal act against their sacred space is unacceptable,” he said in a statement.

The vandalism comes about a month after someone threw a rock through a window at a mosque in the Denver area. The incident at the Colorado Muslim Society was also captured on surveillance video, but no one has been arrested. Investigators in the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office have exhausted all their leads, spokeswoman Julie Brooks said Monday.

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