MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — Police say they’ve arrested a 22-year-old man for spray painting hate-related messages on a mosque in Moorhead.
Authorities say the local man was taken into custody Tuesday night in south Moorhead after police received key information from a local business employee that led to the suspect’s identification.
The vandalism was discovered Sunday morning on the outside of the Moorhead Fargo Islamic Community Center.
The man has been booked into the Clay County Jail on possible charges of felony harassment and felony criminal damage to property, both with hate crime enhancers.
Members of the Moorhead and Fargo, North Dakota metropolitan area turned out with brushes, chemicals, and power washers Monday to help clean the mosque.
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) issued a statement regarding the arrest.
“We welcome the arrest in this troubling case, thank the investigators involved, and hope the swift apprehension of the alleged perpetrator sends a strong message to others who would contemplate engaging in bias-motivated crimes,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein.
CAIR-MN had called for that incident to be investigated as a hate crime and called on state lawmakers to pass a bill updating Minnesota’s hate crime legislation.