Surveillance footage showing a man defacing the sign of the Mankato Islamic Center this past Sunday has been released in the hope of identifying him.
KEYC reports the man replaced the sign outside the center on North Broad St. with one saying the space was for lease, with the vandalism happening during broad daylight at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.
Abdi Sabrie, spokesman for the center, told the TV station that people were inside the center at the time, and wants anyone who knows the man to contact police.
Sabrie told the Mankato Free Press – which shared the above surveillance footage on YouTube – that the financial cost of the damage is minimal, but of greater concern to him is that the vandal’s was likely motivated by hatred.
It’s the second time the center has been vandalized since it opened five years ago, with part of the sign also pulled off in January 2015.
Sabrie told the newspaper if the vandal is identified, he’d welcome into the center, saying: “We want him to come get to know us and understand us.”
According to MPR, Sabrie is a leader in the Somali community and his family moved to the Mankato area in 2009 having lived in Atlanta for 20 years.
The center was set up in its current three-story building after $50,000 was raised by the local community.
Vandalism of mosques in Minnesota are not common occurrences, but there have been a few notable incidents in recent years.
In February of this year, a vandal caused $5,000 of damage to the Umatul Islam Center in Minneapolis after breaking in, while there were a spate of vandal attacks on Islamic faith centers in St. Cloud towards the end of 2014.