FORT COLLINS, CO — Colorado police are investigating vandalism at a mosque after a person was seen on surveillance video throwing rocks and a Bible through the building’s glass doors and prayer area on Sunday.
“The responding officer confirmed there was damage to the building and it had been vandalized around 4 a.m.MT (6 a.m.ET),” Fort Collins police spokesman Dustin Weir told CNN.
Officials with the Islamic Center of Fort Collins said the footage shows a man throwing several large rocks and the Bible into the mosque.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, urged authorities to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.
“Because of the use of a Bible in the vandalism, we would urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate the possibility of a bias motive for this attack on a house of worship,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
For now, police are not ruling it a hate crime.
“We will let the facts determine the course of the investigation,” Weir said.
Local officials condemned the attack on Twitter.
“Unacceptable! I urge anyone who has information about this incident to come forward and help us solve this crime. @FCPolice @FCCrimeStopper,” Fort Collins Chief of Police John Hutto tweeted following the incident.
“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 (D-Colo.) tweeted.
This recent act of vandalism follows “the worst year on record for incidents in which mosques were targets of bias,” according to CAIR.
From New York to California the rights group has reported 33 incidents from January 1 to March 20, 2017, where mosques were targets of threats, vandalism or arson.
The Fort Collins Islamic Center was established in 1980 and was newly renovated in 2013.