Moorhead police investigating vandalism on Moorhead-Fargo Islamic Community Center

The Moorhead Police Department reported that the Moorhead-Fargo Islamic Community Center was vandalized on Saturday with Islamophobic and racist messages spray-painted on the siding, windows and doors.

According to the department, the FBI is also assisting with the investigation to find those involved in the messages.

Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson stated Moorhead and Fargo’s residents are sharing overwhelming support for the Islamic Center congregation, joining Carlson in denouncing the incident.

"Hate will not have a home in Moorhead. The words and symbols defacing the Islamic Center are horrifying to view, but we must view them to bear witness and understand the magnitude and depth of how these hate-filled words impact those in our community," said Carlson.

City Manager Dan Mahli said, "I can’t imagine this happening to my place of worship. We stand with Moorhead’s Islamic community. Hatred is not welcome in Moorhead."

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on law enforcement to investigate the vandalism as a hate crime and urged Minnesota lawmakers to update the state’s hate crime laws.

“We call on local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this disturbing attack as a hate crime and to devote all resources necessary to bring the perpetrators to justice,” CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said in a statement. “Our state’s lawmakers must also show that they take growing hate crimes seriously by passing legislation to update how hate incidents are reported and handled.”

While the community is eager to erase the hate messages from the Islamic Center, evidence is still being gathered. Clean-up will begin on Monday, said the police department.

Anyone with information that could assist investigators, please call the Red River Dispatch Center at 701-451-7660 and ask to speak to the on-duty Moorhead Police Supervisor, or submit information to the Moorhead Police Department Tip Line.