Mosque in Fort Collins, Colorado ‘seriously’ vandalized
2:23 PM, Mar 26, 2017
5:58 AM, Mar 27, 2017
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Police are looking for a vandal who targeted the Fort Collins Islamic Center early Sunday.
A police an officer responded to the center at around 5:30 a.m. Sunday for a call of criminal mischief. No further details were given.
Sunday afternoon, Rabbi Hillel Katzir of Temple Or Hadash, said in a news release the center was "seriously vandalized."
Rabbi Hillel said someone threw a Bible through the glass doors. The doors were broken with large stones or bricks, Hillel added.
“I went there this morning to view the damage, and was appalled by what I saw,” he said.
Rep. Jared Polis tweeted about the crime, calling it "unacceptable."
Rabbi Hillel is calling on people to come show support for the Fort Collins Muslim community at 5 p.m. The center is located at 925 Lake Street.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the mosque, a spokesperson said. The money will be used to invest in a strong security system and also to repair the glass doors.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on state and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate the vandalism at the center as a possible hate crime.
Nationwide Anti-Mosque Activity
[Updated March 2017]
In the wake of the 2015 attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, anti-Muslim sentiment has spiked. Although these sentiments manifest themselves in many ways, attacks on mosques directly take aim at religious freedom. Existing and proposed mosque sites across the country have been targeted for vandalism and other criminal acts, and there have been efforts to block or deny necessary zoning permits for the construction and expansion of other facilities.
Below is a map highlighting anti-mosque incidents across the country since 2005. If you are aware of an anti-mosque incident not on this list, please contact us.
Discriminatory Profiling National Security Privacy and Surveillance
Click any highlighted state to learn more
1 or 2 anti-mosque incidents
3 or 4 anti-mosque incidents
5 or more anti-mosque incidents
Show map data
While mosque opponents frequently claim their objections are based on practical considerations such as traffic, parking, and noise levels, those asserted concerns are often pretexts masking anti-Muslim sentiment. Government officials in some areas of the country have yielded to this religious bigotry, treating mosques and Islamic centers differently than other proposed houses of worship and/or denying zoning permits without the compelling interest that is required by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (a federal civil rights law that affords heightened legal protection to the use of property for religious purposes). Even where local governments strongly support religious freedom, private citizens nevertheless often seek to intimidate Muslims into forgoing the exercise of this freedom.
The Constitution guarantees the right of private citizens to protest, and the ACLU would vigorously defend that right if infringed by the government. But making Muslims – or any other religious group – feel unwelcome in local communities conflicts with our Founders’ vision of religious liberty and tolerance. Protests that cross the line into violence and other criminal acts are, of course, not protected by law and are indefensible.
If you are aware of an anti-mosque incident not on this list, please contact us.
Colorado Mosque Vandalized By Criminal Who Also Threw a Bible Into the Prayer Room
March 27, 2017
by Hemant Mehta
The Islamic Center of Fort Collins in Colorado was vandalized early Sunday morning. Someone threw rocks through the windows, furniture was overturned, and there was a Bible thrown in the center’s prayer room. (Just in case there was any doubt as to who did it.) Thankfully, no one was hurt.
There was widespread condemnation of the crime, as you’d expect from decent people, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is asking that authorities consider this a possible hate crime.
The center’s leader, Tawfik Aboellail, did a nice job responding to the crime with a message of tolerance and inclusion: “We are peaceful people. We love our Christian and Jewish brothers. We don’t have any problems with anyone.” He also said that security footage pointed to a white man who looked to be in his mid-20s.
No one’s been arrested for the crime yet, but it goes without saying that this is absolutely unacceptable. Everyone has the right to worship in peace. It’s appalling — and ironic — that someone who may well belong to a group that constantly complains about religious persecution did something like this.
If you want your heart to grow a few sizes, though, check out this video of the interfaith crowd that gathered outside the mosque last night to show support for the Muslims who worship there.