Federal authorities in the United States are investigating an incident that occurred in Rhode Island that resulted in a Muslim school being vandalized with anti-Islamic graffiti.
Over the weekend, a number of slogans were spray painted on both the front and back entrances to the building that houses the nonprofit Islamic School of Rhode Island in West Warwick, including, “Die Pig” and “F— Allah Now This Is A Hate Crime.” The unknown vandals then broke into the school to spray painting slogans onto the walls of the institution.
The event caused the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to ask authorities to investigate the incident after what the group refers to as “recent spike in anti-Muslim hate rhetoric and bias-motivated attacks on American Muslims and their institutions.” The group is asking that “the strongest possible charges [be] brought against the perpetrators once they are apprehended.”
The school said the vandalism “is not something that we take lightly” on their Facebook page, going on to say that evidence has been handed over to local authorities to aid in the investigation.
According to Police Captain Donald Archibald, the vandals went “beyond normal vandalism” and wrote “senseless, hateful comments.”
The incident is the latest among a string of tragedies currently considered to be possible anti-Islamic hate crimes.
Earlier this month three Muslims were killed in North Carolina. A middle-aged white man shot Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus. Family members of the victims are asking for authorities to investigate the shootings as a hate crime.
“Please investigate. Please look carefully. I have talked to lawyers. I have talked to law professors. This has hate crime written all over it,” Mohammad Abu-Salha, the father of the two female victims, said.
Suzanne Barakat, the sister of Deah, added that they were “execution-style murders.”
Just last week a fire broke out at the Quba Islamic Institute in Houston, Texas. The incident is still under investigation, but it is known that an accelerant was used to burn the education center, causing authorities to believe it was an act of arson.
Having opened 11 years ago, the Islamic School of Rhode Island is an independent Islamic institution that enrolls students of all cultures and backgrounds.
US Census Bureau statistics from 2000 show West Warwick to be a town of around 30,000 people located 14 miles away from Providence. A 2008 Pew study revealed less than 1% of the Rhode Island population with a known religious affiliation to be Muslim.