Suspect Wanted for Mosque Vandalism in Moorhead

Moorhead Fargo Islamic Center Mosque members waking up to hate speech sprayed painted onto the walls.

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Moorhead police and the FBI are investigating vandalism at a local mosque.

“These are people who live in our community. They work in our community. Our children go to school together. We are one community that loves one another. That supports one another and this is not to be tolerated in our city and it’s unacceptable,” Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson said.

Moorhead Fargo Islamic Center Mosque members waking up to hate speech sprayed painted onto the walls. According to the Moorhead Police Department, the surveillance camera images show the suspect wearing a camouflage jacket and a dark ski mask.

“He came like fifteen minutes after….he tried to open the door to see if there’s anybody in, but the door is locked, so he went through the back. He wrote something like N-O-D and we don’t know what it means and he wrote all these kinds of things here,” Mosque Member, Hammed Abonaji said.

According to the Vice President of the Mosque, the suspect sprayed messages like go to hell and death to Islam on the walls late Saturday night. One of the members saying this is the holy month of Ramadan and things could have been worse.

“This is the month that everyone is coming to the masjid. Kids, elderly, and everyone so that makes it a little bit scary that this person was here and if he wanted to do something, he could have easily done it,” Mosque Member, Jamal Abdi said.

People coming together to show their support of their holy space. One member says she knows this is a frightening situation.

“It’s scary. I just know that especially all of the members who come here that they’re going to feel so hated and personally affected,” Mosque Member, Amanda Ghauri said.

Mayor Shelly Carlson says this hate has no place in Moorhead.

“We stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors and we will not tolerate this. This is unacceptable and the law enforcement. The City of Moorhead police and the FBI are also working on this,” Mayor Carlson said.

While the investigation is still ongoing, one member says they want peace.

“Nobody has anything against anyone. As we are, our color doesn’t define us, our religion doesn’t define us, what defines us is what is in your heart,” Abonaji said.

Members are welcoming anyone interested in cleaning up the spray paint to join them Monday at 1 pm.

The mayors of Fargo, West Fargo, Horace and Dilworth issued a joint statement calling the vandalism “a heinous act of hate”.

Read the full statement below:

The Cities of Fargo, West Fargo, Horace and Dilworth stand together with the City of Moorhead in unequivocally denouncing the criminal actions taken against the Moorhead-Fargo Islamic Community Center last night. Those criminal actions are completely contradictory to the values of tolerance, respect and acceptance we embrace in all of our communities. The vandalism was a heinous act of hate attacking the center during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

United, we echo Mayor Shelly Carlson’s message that hate — of any kind, shape or form — does not have a home in this metro. These despicable actions will not be tolerated in any of our cities. While the intent of these senseless crimes is to divide us, our metro has always rallied together in times of despair and we are asking you to do that again.  We are, and always will be, stronger together.

We ask the residents of our metro community to keep the members of this mosque in their thoughts as they recover from the impact of hate-filled words and deeds that have desecrated their place of worship. We also encourage anyone with information to assist investigators in identifying those involved by calling the Red River Dispatch Center or submitting information to the Moorhead Police Department Tip Line.

Categories: Community, Crime, Minnesota News