Man defaces mosque with anti-Islam graffiti ‘to get a reaction,’ Minnesota cops say


The Moorhead-Fargo Islamic Community Center was vandalized final week with anti-Islam graffiti.

Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relation

A tip from a Walmart worker led to the arrest of a man accused of vandalizing a mosque throughout Ramadan, Minnesota police say.

The Moorhead/Fargo Islamic Community Center was vandalized with graffiti that included phrases reminiscent of “Death to Islam” and “Go to hell,” based on a felony criticism in opposition to Benjamin Enderle. The 22-year-old suspect can also be accused of spray portray a swastika on the sidewalk and the phrase “women can’t vote” on the ladies’s entrance to the middle.

Police launched surveillance photos and video of the suspect after the April 25 incident. They requested for assist figuring out the perpetrator, exhibiting pictures of a man sporting a camouflage jacket and a darkish ski masks.

Enderle was recognized from the footage outdoors the middle as nicely video from a Walmart close by, the place he was proven buying purple spray paint a day earlier than the incident, police say.

A Walmart worker known as police when he examined purchase records and surveillance. The employee noticed Enderle sporting the identical jacket within the retailer as seen within the picture shared by police, based on WCCO.

Police took Enderle into custody Tuesday and he instructed them he had spray painted the middle, saying “he did it as a joke,” based on police.

“(Enderle) stated he did it to get a reaction from the community and the media,” court docket paperwork present. “(Enderle) stated that he acted alone and did not have any help from his roommate.”

Enderle acknowledged he doesn’t “hate them,” however the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations known as upon authorities to research the vandalism as a hate crime.

“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,” CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein mentioned.

Police charged Enderle with felony harassment with bias and felony felony harm to property. The vp of the Islamic middle, Ademola Hammed, instructed the Star Tribune the mosque members have peacefully coexisted throughout the neighborhood for 4 years however they’re “disturbed” on the vandalism.

Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carson issued a assertion following the act of vandalism and known as upon the neighborhood to assist clear up the middle.

“Hate has no home in Moorhead,” she mentioned. “These images 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. This is unacceptable behavior and is not okay.”

Video shared on Facebook by Wess Philome reveals the neighborhood chipping in to assist clear the middle. Philome known as the outcomes “beyond what anyone could have imagined.”

Before Enderle’s arrest, mayors of three close by North Dakota cities — West Fargo, Fargo and Horace — and the mayor of Dilworth, Minnesota, issued a joint statement condemning the vandalism.

“Those criminal actions are completely contradictory to the values of tolerance, respect and acceptance we embrace in all of our communities,” the assertion learn. “The vandalism was a heinous act of hate attacking the center during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.”

In a court docket look Thursday, Enderlee mentioned he “regretted doing it right after (he) did it,” KVRR reported. He faces as much as five years in prison.

Mike Stunson covers real-time information for McClatchy. He is a 2011 Western Kentucky University graduate who has beforehand labored on the Paducah Sun and Madisonville Messenger as a sports activities reporter and the Lexington Herald-Leader as a breaking information reporter.
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