Activists are calling for a federal civil rights investigation after a nonprofit Muslim school in Rhode Island was defaced Saturday with anti-Islamic graffiti.
Photos provided to NBC News by the Islamic School of Rhode Island in West Warwick showed doors and walls spray-painted in orange with the phrases “Die Pig” and “F—- Allah Now This Is A Hate Crime.”
West Warwick Police Captain Donald Archibald suggested the defacement went “beyond normal vandalism,” NBC News reported.
Citing a “recent spike in anti-Muslim hate rhetoric and bias-motivated attacks on American Muslims and their institutions,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called the vandalism a hate crime, urging that “the strongest possible charges [be] brought against the perpetrators once they are apprehended,” NBC News reported.
Hilmy Bakri, president of the school’s board of trustees, said the campus has never been the subject of vandalism or any serious threats before, the Associated Press reported.
In a post on the school’s official Facebook page, Mr. Bakri rebuked the perpetrators and thanked parents and friends for their kindness and support.
“The Board of Trustees and our Principal are parents ourselves. So this is not something that we take lightly, but we do believe that this is the work of small minded ignorant person,” the post said. “Someone who does not care about the safety of children or the sanctity of a school. It’s unfortunate that we have this type of evil done by such people; and who ever and where ever they are I hope that they become rightly guided and feel remorse for their action.”
“We are going to do our due diligence in protecting the school- but in the end we put our trust in Allah swt. He is the Almighty and most merciful, whatever he wills no one can prevent and whatever he denies no one can achieve,” Mr. Bakri wrote.
The Islamic School of Rhode Island opened in 2003 for Muslim students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.