Chantilly mosque vandalized
A mosque in Chantilly was vandalized on Sunday evening, leaving tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.
Late in the night, vandals smashed windows open and threw rocks at the mosque, ruining more than a decade of work put into creating the religious space in Chantilly. Repairs could cost up to $60,000, Centreville Patch reported.
As a result of the damage, the mosque’s opening will have to be delayed. The glass doors and windows, which were largely damaged, will have to be specially-ordered and will cost between $3,000 to $6,000 per window, said Usman Ghumman, the mosque's general secretary. Ordering and replacing the windows will not only be time-consuming, but costly.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Tuesday called on the FBI and local law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for vandalism targeting a mosque under construction in Virginia.
"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.
Construction workers left the mosque around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon in good condition, but found a large number of empty beer cans and empty alcohol containers on the site when they returned in the morning.
The Muslim community has been trying to build a Mosque for years. In Walkersville, Md., they were denied a rezoning request and the town was sued for discrimination. After a settlement in 2009, the decided to build in Chantilly. The mosque was set to open in late February.
Ghumman told Centreville Patch that he feels the mosque was specifically targeted, as nothing was actually stolen. The vandalism is not new: around six years ago, vandals broke into another local mosque and desecrated the Koran, Ghumman said.
"We know some people hate us, but we are a very peaceful group," said Ghumman.
Residents are hoping for a quick arrest.
"I believe in freedom of religious expression," said Chantilly resident David Polski.
Following some initial community opposition on certain aspects of the mosque, the community was finally ready to open the mosque after a decade of preparation.
Fairfax County police are working to find those who committed the vandalism. Anyone with information may contact Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477.