BURLINGTON (CBS/AP) — Police are looking for three men they say were involved in a ‘malicious vandalism’ of a mosque in Burlington.
The vandals apparently spray-painted “USA” repeatedly on the exterior walls of the Islamic Center of Burlington. Officers who were called to the mosque Sunday also found remains of several smashed eggs that were thrown at the building.
The Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) posted photos of the graffiti online, and said the vandalism was discovered early Sunday morning.
Surveillance cameras outside the mosque caught two masked men near the building during the time it was vandalized. A third person remained in the white Ford Crown Victoria.
“They were not afraid of being caught in the cameras,” said Munir Gandeva, the Islamic Center of Burlington’s president and founder. “It is very serious.”
Worshipers were inside the mosque when it was vandalized.
One man who was inside at the time said, “The imam said it’s not safe to go outside.”
One of the suspects is described as short with a thin build, and was seen wearing blue jeans, a brown jacket, boots, and a white mask. The other is about 6-feet tall, thin build, seen wearing khaki pants, a black hooded sweatshirt, tan boots, and a cloth covering his face.
Police have not released information about the third person in the car.
In a statement, CAIR suggests the graffiti reflects growing anti-Islamic sentiment that Muslim are not “real” Americans.
John Robbins, executive director of Council on American-Islamic Relations in Massachusetts, says the group will be formally asking the FBI’s Boston office to also conduct an inquiry.
He says the vandalism is the latest on the mosque, which was spray-painted with “USA” graffiti in 2013.
Gandeva says the vandals should learn about America and the freedom of religion.
“Somebody doesn’t know what the USA is about, they don’t know what its founding members have done for us,” he said.
Anyone with any information on the vandalism is urged to contact Burlington Police Department at 781-272-1212.
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