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Police: Vandalism at Mosque Likely Not a Hate Crime

The evidence at the scene indicates that the crime was a random act of destruction.

Editor's note: this article was published on January 31, 2012. 

Fairfax County Police believe that the recent vandalism at the construction site of a new Chantilly mosque was probably a random act of vicious vandalism, Captain Purvis Dawson, the commander of the Sully District Station, said Tuesday. 

The Northern Virginia chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community will have to delay the mosque's opening (previously scheduled for late February), and leaders estimate the amount of damage is in the tens of thousands of dollars. The vandalism has generated interest throughout the metro area and from Islamic communities around the country. The Council on American-Islamic Relations this morning issued a press release asking that the FBI become involved and consider bias as a possible motive. However, at this point in the investigation, authorities do not think that was the reason for the crime. 

Dawson said that while theories could change as police gather more information, right now the evidence at the scene seems to lead to the conclusion that the crime was a random act. 

"We’ll welcome anybody’s help, but right now what we have indicates that this is a random act of vicious stupidity, of vandalism,” Dawson said in a phone interview, after spending two and a half hours personally interviewing community members and reviewing the scene Tuesday morning. There was no previous record of vandalism at the site, he said. 

Moreover, when police checked over the scene, there were "no racial slurs, no derogatory slang, nothing that indicates it was a hate crime," he added. 

Detectives spent many hours combing over the site and collecting evidence Monday. There was a tremendous amount of broken glass and open alcoholic containers. Police are also looking at records to determine if there have been any similar cases of vandalism in nearby neighborhoods. Due to the amount of damage and beer bottles, investigators believe there were multiple people involved in the destruction. 

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community leaders estimate that the damage could cost up to $60,000. However, they expect that insurance will cover the damages. The biggest problem is that the mosque will have to delay opening after over a decade of hard work and planning.

The response from the local community after the event has been positive, Usmann Ghumman, the community's general secretary, said on Tuesday. Many people have reached out to him directly, and through the comments section on Patch, to convey their sympathy and condolences. 

Dawson said that officers would be canvassing the adjacent neighborhoods to see if anyone heard or saw anything on Sunday. He urged people to contact Crime Solvers if they have any information for the police. The number is 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, or text “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES/274637. 

“It’s an active case and we are asking for the community’s help," Dawson said.

Jim Daniels January 31, 2012 at 10:04 PM
I would love to believe this is true...but I find it very hard to believe. I know the Police will keep looking into it...they want to get to the bottom of this more than anyone I am sure!!
Nasir Jadran February 01, 2012 at 12:52 AM
It is a crime whether hate or not. It is police's job to find the culprits so such incidents do not occur again on any place of worship.
Cassie February 01, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Since the FBI is already involved - Go after them for the Hate Crime and at least charge them with a federal crime and with the possibility of going to federal prison. Their parents will have to hire a top notch attorney to get them out of it. Hopefully it will scare the bejeszies out of any further vandals in the area. And maybe they will get thrown in jail for even longer so they can't harm our cars or houses in the area. Vandalism is a really stupid crime only capped by the stupidity of the worthless people who perpetrate it - if the vandals are reading this they are probably looking up all the words on the internet - if they can even use the computer - because that is their level of intellect.... Get this stupid kids....the FBI is involved and WILL GET YOU!!! I am sure they bragged about it - because again the intellect level here - and someone will tell when threatened with the FBI.
T-Bird February 01, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Kiddies - I hope your little rock throwing drunkeness was worth getting prison raped for the next 20 years. Bubbas gonna LOVE you up real good! That is if they don't shank you first.
saleem Hayat February 01, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I have full faith in our law enforcement, and I appreciate their hard work, to find the culprits. The support of the community is very heart warming. The best answer to the vandalism will be if most the local community show up at the opening of the Mosque to show the world that we Americans are from all faiths, the action of few will not deter us, we respect each other and enjoy the freedom of our great nation. May God bless our nation and all peace loving people.
Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael February 01, 2012 at 09:04 PM
A crime like this involves hate, whether it can be legally classified as such or not. I look forward to being present at the opening of the mosque, and hope to stand in solidarity with people from a multitude of faith communities that refuse to confuse faith with a license to hate.
Adam Light February 03, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Perhaps people will become more informed about the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a community that believes in their founder as the peace-loving Messiah; a community that welcomes intellectual discourse as their main and primary jihad (struggle); a community that rejects all forms of terrorism; a community that rejects those Muslims that wage war in the name of religion, and believe that any such Muslims that do this today, will always be humilitated per teachings of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908); a community that seeks to conquer hearts and minds by way of beautiful deed and action (as opposed to violence and aggression, which sums up the entire phiiisophy of the Ahmadiyya Movement); a community that believes in minority rights and freedom of religion for all; a community that honors its military veterans (including myself, serving in the American armed forces); a community that engages interfaiith dialogue; a community that strives for its members to become upstanding citizens of the country they live in! Regarding the name Ahmadiyya’ the founder of Ahmadiyya himself stated, “it has been considered appropriate that the name of this party should be Ahmadiyya, so that everyone hearing this name should realize that this party has come into being for the spread of peace and security and that it would have NOTHING TO DO WITH WAR AND FIGHTING."

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