As Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan, a Northern Virginia mosque says it has been vandalized twice in one week, and a national Muslim civil rights group is asking authorities to investigate the vandalism as a bias crime.
Officials at the Manassas Muslim Association on Euclid Avenue said someone vandalized the building's air conditioning unit Thursday night, cutting through copper cables.
Mosque officials dealt with a similar problem earlier this week. On Monday, worshippers heard a strange noise about 5 a.m. during morning prayer.
When they noticed the mosque beginning to warm up inside, they went outside and found someone had cut through air conditioning cables.
The nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is asking authorities to investigate the incidents Monday and last night as bias crimes. Police said they do not have evidence the acts of vandalism were hate crimes.
Manassas Muslim Association President Muneer Baig said he's questioning whether the mosque was targeted on the basis of the community's faith.
"I am starting to believe that it's a hate crime. Someone knows what they're doing," he said. "They're trying to send a message."
The mosque is marking the one-year anniversary of its opening. Workers are adding surveillance cameras and lighting to deter vandals.