COLUMBUS- The Columbus chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations wants the vandalism found at the city mosque on Friday to be investigated as a hate crime.
The chapter said surveillance footage shows a man vandalizing the Ahlul-Bayt Islamic Center.
The legal director of CAIR-Columbus Roman Iqbal said the man’s car was coated with pro-Trump messages and that he scribbled anti-Islamic graffiti on the mosque door.
“It does appear that the vandal was motivated by anti-Muslim animus," Iqbal said. "So we are calling for this to be investigated as a hate crime."
He added that these types of actions need to be investigated and taken care of properly.
“Our concern is that when people go to these mosques and vandalize and do these smaller things, that could lead to bigger things if strong action is not taken and these people are not prosecuted,” he said.
“I don’t know if it rises to a level of a hate crime yet,” Perry Township Police Chief John Petrozzi said.
Perry Township police are calling the vandalism an act of “criminal mischief” because they did not find a threat against Muslims who attend the mosque.
“He had some message he wanted to send,” Petrozzi said. “They key is trying to figure out what his motivation was and is he in fact dangerous.”