PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island mosque has had windows smashed and been defaced with anti-Muslim graffiti.
Mosque members said they discovered the vandalism at the Muslim Community Center of Kingston’s Masjid Al-Hoda not long after Thursday night’s attack that killed at least 84 people in Nice, France.
The graffiti was written on the front of the mosque in large red letters.
The mosque in South Kingstown is near the University of Rhode Island’s main campus and is attended by many Muslim students and faculty members.
Mosque spokesman Nasser Zawia said nothing like this has happened since the place of worship was founded in 2001.
“Our community has been there since midnight, working on cleaning it,” he said Friday. “We’ve never faced anything like this.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on state and federal law enforcement to investigate the vandalism as a possible hate crime and to increase police patrols to protect Muslim institutions around the country.
The organization also condemned the truck attack in France, as well as comments by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich arguing that Muslims in the United States should be tested and be expelled from the country if they believe in Sharia law.