NEW MEXICO (US): Congregants and Muslim organizations have called for local authorities to investigate multiple incidents of vandalism at the Portales Islamic Center in New Mexico as hate crimes. As a result of the recent incidents, vandals broke into the mosque, desecrated the Quran by pouring beer on its pages, and tore copies of the Quran from its pages.
In addition, they stabbed holes in the walls, destroyed furniture, and left behind debris. A framed painting of Jesus Christ was also found among the rubble. The mosque’s wall was also painted with the letters “KKK,” associated with the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan.
A small congregation of approximately 20 people worships at the Portales Islamic Center, which primarily serves university students. Despite the nature of the incidents, the police chief of Portales said the acts were unlikely to be considered hate crimes.
A police chief stated that the damage resembled that found on other vacant buildings in the area, leading investigators to believe it was not motivated by hate. According to him, the investigation will continue, and if a hate crime is confirmed, New Mexico guidelines will result in a sentencing enhancement rather than a separate charge.
CAIR, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, claims that these incidents should be treated as hate crimes. The Cair condemns the attacks on the mosque and expresses its solidarity with the community in Portales.
Law enforcement authorities are urged to investigate the possibility of bias motives behind these crimes. As a result of the repeated targeting of the mosque, Cair also requests increased police patrols in the area.
Just three months ago, two mosques in Minneapolis were destroyed by fire over two consecutive days. In connection with the arson fires, as well as the targeting of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s office, a suspect was arrested.