Man arrested over vandalism of Islamic faith center in St. Cloud

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A man has been arrested in connection with the vandalism of an Islamic faith center in St. Cloud.

The St. Cloud Times reports that a 29-year-old man was apprehended Thursday on allegations that he smashed a window in the front door of the Islamic Center of St. Cloud, on the 300 Block of 5th Avenue South.

It has been a regular target for vandalism over the past year.

The man, who told officers he had been a regular attendee at prayer at the center in the past, is also accused of breaking a window of a nearby vehicle, and spraying the side of the church with beer, the newspaper notes.

According to WCCO, several people were praying inside the center at the time of the incident and followed the suspect, while another group of witnesses chased him down and brought him back to the scene.

Police told the TV station that he is believed to have broken the windows using a basketball-sized ball of plaster/artwork, that he apparently made himself and brought from his home.

In December, Islamic leaders in St. Cloud reported that at least two faith centers in the city, including the Islamic Center of St. Cloud, were being targeted by vandals.

They called for better protection from police for Muslim worshippers after four attacks in the space of a month, with the Central Minnesota Islamic Center on Fourth Avenue South also targeted.

There is no indication at this stage that the man arrested was involved in these previous incidents.

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