An unidentified man allegedly smashed glass, overturned benches, and tossed a Bible inside a Colorado mosque early Sunday morning.
The Islamic Center of Fort Collins said surveillance video captured the incident around 4 a.m. Fort Collins Police Services told BuzzFeed News the investigation is ongoing.
“A young man broke the back door inflicting quite a bit of damage and he threw a bible in the prayer room,” the center wrote on its Facebook page.
The man first attempted to get into the building with a screwdriver, then began throwing rocks.
“Anything he could get a hold of, he wanted to damage,” Tawfik AboEllail, president of the center, told The Coloradoan. “Thank god he didn't burn the building down.”
The center had the day before hosted an event with Fort Collins police titled, “Know Your Rights and Duties.” On Sunday, police Chief John Hutto spoke out against the vandalism.
“Unacceptable!” he wrote on Twitter. “I urge anyone who has information about this incident to come forward and help us solve this crime.”
In a statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for authorities to investigate the incident as a 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 Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR national communications director.
A local rabbi and progressive group Indivisible NOCO called for neighbors to join a rally in support of the center Sunday evening. Rep. Jared Polis, the Democrat representing Colorado's second congressional district, also condemned the vandalism.
The center set up a GoFundMe page to cover the cost of repairs as well as upgrade security at the building. The center has always received support and welcome from the Fort Collins community, the page noted.
“Many people have been asking how they can support us financially to repair the damage and improve our site security. So as a result we have made this page.”
By Sunday afternoon, almost $5,000 had been raised.