FBI Investigating Vandalism To Fairfax Mosque

Mosque was scheduled to open in February

By WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
|  Thursday, Feb 2, 2012  |  Updated 8:44 AM EDT
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FBI Investigating Vandalism To Fairfax Mosque

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In Virginia, the FBI is now stepping in to help find the vandals who damaged a mosque in Virginia. The new Ahmadiyya Muslim Community mosque on Walney Road in Chantilly was scheduled to open its doors this month, but that might now be delayed.

During a walk around of the three story structure today, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community mosque spokesman Usman Gaumman pointed at shattered windows: "All the windows have been broken on the first level, as well as one window up on the second level."Gaumman says initial estimates put the damage at $60,000, but the number keeps rising as more damage is discovered. He says the stucco on one entire outer wall must also be replaced.

As Gaumman surveyed the damage, an FBI agent showed up on the site to take his statement. A spokesman for the FBI would not confirm if the agency is treating the vandalism as a hate crime. Gaumman says he's not sure either -- but he says whoever did took the time to do as much damage as they could. "It was just not one silly act," says Gaumman. "Somebody took their time in smashing, going around the whole of the building and smashing all the windows."

Fairfax Police spokesman Officer Don Gotthardt says the perpetrators do not appear to have entered the building. Investigators found empty liquor containers on the scene. Gotthardt says help from the public could be key to finding the culprits.

"If they hear rumor, gossip, whatever -- if they find something in an online chat or a blog that refers to the mosque or the destruction -- we'd like them to give us a call," says Gotthardt.Gotthardt also says local patrol units have been asked to make extra rounds in the area near the mosque until the case is solved.

Complete story at wamu.org

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