FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A Washington-based Muslim group is calling on federal and state authorities to investigate the vandalism of a Fort Collins Islamic Center as a possible hate crime.
Police say a vandal targeted the Fort Collins Islamic Center early Sunday morning. Surveillance video released Monday shows a man throwing several large rocks and a Bible through glass doors and into the prayer area of the mosque. The suspect has yet to be identified.
Hundreds from around the Fort Collins community are pulling together to donate flowers, cards and money to the Islamic Center of Fort Collins.
The GoFundMe page that was created Sunday has already surpassed the $20,000 goal that will go toward repairing the doors and windows that were destroyed, along with upgrading the security system, leaders say.
"It’s just a show of love and support and it’s really beautiful to see," said Lamine Kane, the youth coordinator of the Islamic Center of Fort Collins. "Hopefully we see this as a sign that in the future, we don’t wait until something happens. We look at signs and we constantly come together.”
Others within the center are stunned to see what happened and grateful for the support they're getting from the community.
"We’ve contributed and we’ve received so much good from here. This is not the town that we moved to. This is a town that has been infused with some demonic spirit of enmity that we terribly regret," said Elisabeth Siddiqui. "I’ve seen people with tears and brought flowers and brought cards and shown their love and so many donations. We thank you from our hearts and please keep the support up and let the world know that we will not be intimidated and we will not be put down.”
Police said this is being investigated as a bias-motivated crime, which includes hate crimes.
Fort Collins police are asking anyone who might have information on the crime, to call them.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, says hate crime charges should be pursued because the vandal used the Bible in the attack.
Fort Collins police are continuing their investigation and said they are looking into the incident as a bias-motived crime.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the mosque, a spokesperson told Denver7. The money will be used to invest in a strong security system and also to repair the glass doors.
CAIR says they have seen a 50 percent increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2016 over 2015.