The largest Islamic civil rights group in the state wants the vandalism of a Mankato mosque to be investigated as a hate crime.
Surveillance footage from over the weekend shows the Mankato Islamic Center's sign being replaced, with the new one indicating the space was for lease. It's the second time the mosque's sign has been vandalized in the past couple years.
And now the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (referred to as CAIR-MN) wants the vandalism investigated as a hate crime.
"For someone to vandalize a mosque sign during broad daylight is troubling,” CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said in a news release. "We urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime."
Kyl Loven, chief division counsel for the FBI's MInneapolis office, told BringMeTheNews the agency is aware of the incident, and "currently reviewing the information which was provided by CAIR-MN."
We've reached out to the Mankato Police Department for a comment as well.
A hate crime, according to the FBI's definition, is a crime committed against someone or something that is "motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity."
Mosques in Minnesota
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.
According to PEW Research Center there are about 3.3 million Muslims living in the U.S., a number that is likely to double by 2050.
According to a recent PEW Research study, Muslims are one of the most negatively viewed religious groups in the U.S.