Vandalism at Davis Mosque Being Investigated as Hate Crime

DAVIS -- A Davis mosque was the target of a hate crime early Sunday morning.

"If I said I was not scared, then that's not true, we are all scared," said Imam Ammar Shahin with the Islamic Center of Davis.

Just before first prayer, members of the Islamic Center of Davis were greeted by destruction. A suspect was caught on surveillance video around 3:50 in the morning breaking five glass doors and one window, slashing tires and seats of bicycles locked up outside the mosque, and draping bacon over door handles.

UPDATE: A crowd-funding campaign has been collecting donations for the center.

The Davis Police Department calls the attack targeted and said it is a hate crime because of the bacon left behind. Pork is a meat forbidden to be eaten in the Muslim religion.

"We don't know what's the motivation behind the person doing such an act," said Shahin.

Mosque leaders canceled Sunday classes because of the vandalism, but they're not angry.

"Respond to crime with crime or hate with hate, we don't do that, our religion is very peaceful," said Shahin.

This isn't the first time the mosque has been targeted.

Back in December a hateful, threatening letter was sent to the mosque.

Leaders said with that incident, and with this most recent one, the community has really stepped up to make them feel supported. Kind emails and even flowers show the hundreds of followers of the Islamic Center they're not alone.

For leaders, this is a lesson in forgiveness and an opportunity to educate.

"We don't blame the person we blame the lack of knowledge, and I think it would be more beneficial for us to sit with the person if they have questions for us, our doors are always open," said Islamic Center of Davis President Amr Zedan.

While the Davis Police Department looks into the hate crime, Muslim civil rights group, CAIR Sacramento, is demanding a state and federal investigation.

CAIR Sacramento is offering a $1,000 reward for information on the suspect.

Damage is estimated to be between $5,000 and $10,000.

The suspect is described as a white female adult, between 25-35 years old, 5-feet-4-inches to 5-feet-8-inches tall and approximately 160 to 180 pounds. The suspect has red/brown wavy hair and was seen wearing beige hightop shoes, gray or blue tight fitting pants, an off-white vest and an unknown color shirt with an unknown logo. The suspect also wore a black hat with an unknown logo.

Contact the Davis PD with tips by calling (530) 747-5400.