FORT COLLINS - Fort Collins police are searching for a man they say vandalized the Fort Collins Islamic Center by throwing cinderblocks through the windows around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday.
“It’s a very unfortunate time,” mosque president Towfik Aboellail said. “I had a feeling this would happen. What if one of our people was praying and that rock hit?"
Surveillance footage from the mosque shows a man in a sweatshirt with the hood up pacing around the mosque’s exterior before he kicks one of the building’s glass doors.
Then, he goes around tipping benches before finding two cinderblocks and throwing them through the doors, shattering them.
Aboellail says the man then hurled a bible into the mosque’s prayer room.
“It's not real until it hits you,” he said. “There was no action fast enough to preempt something like this. I'm angry, frustrated and concerned.”
Fort Collins police are stopping short of calling this a hate crime, although they say they are not ruling it out.
That didn't stop those who gathered at the mosque Sunday morning from treating it as such.
“I would say it's evil and sinful and so we stand in solidarity with our Islamic brothers and sisters,” said Hal Chorpenning.
Chorpenning is pastor at neighboring Plymouth Congregational Church. He interrupted his 11a.m. service to bring his congregation over to the mosque and show their support.
“We are a very pluralistic nation and we are better for being pluralistic,” said congregant Bill Thompson.
On Saturday, Fort Collins Police Chief John Hutto spoke to the Fort Collins Islamic Center about hate crimes against mosques.
Dozens of people of different faiths joined together to denounce the attack on Sunday afternoon.
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