Police see bias motive for New Hampshire mosque vandalism

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said today that law enforcement authorities in New Hampshire are investigating a bias motive for extensive vandalism of the construction site for the Islamic Society of Greater Manchester.

CAIR said the vandalism, which cost more than $30,000 to repair and included a number of smashed windows and attempted arson, occurred in July but was not determined to be bias-motivated until recently. The perpetrators were caught on video surveillance cameras.

The mosque site was targeted with a similar act of vandalism in April. Muslim community leaders and local police told CAIR that the juvenile perpetrators bragged of the vandalism online and left comments on anti-Muslim hate sites. Officials say New Hampshire does not have a hate crime statute but that a judge can hand down an enhanced sentence if the alleged vandals are convicted.

“We thank Manchester police for following up on this case and ultimately uncovering the alleged bias motive,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “A bias motive is often not recognized in these cases unless there is obvious evidence such as hate graffiti.”

Later this month, CAIR will issue its latest report on Islamophobia, called “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States.” The groundbreaking 158-page report includes a listing of the organizations involved in the U.S. Islamophobia network, separated into an “inner core” that focuses exclusively on promoting anti-Islam prejudice and an “outer core” that has other elements to its work.

To receive information about the release date for the report, subscribe to CAIR’s email list.

The Washington-based civil rights group has called on local and national law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for similar acts of vandalism or bias targeting mosques nationwide.

CAIR press release, 17 September 2013