PLAINFIELD, Ind. (Feb. 29, 2016) – Surveillance video showed three young men were responsible for vandalism at the Islamic Society of North America headquarters in Plainfield.
A witness who’d arrived for prayers saw them drive off in a truck but didn’t think anything of it at first because they were unaware of the vandalism.
Those were the latest updates from officials as they addressed what was described as a hate crime. The organization has contacted local police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the spray-painted slurs.
Secretary General Hazem Bata spoke Monday about the graffiti, thanking the vandals for their efforts. The reason for his gratitude? Bata said the incident has brought an overwhelming amount of support from the interfaith community.
“We are here to thank the vandals. For every negative, there is a positive,” he said.
“We’re not here to focus on the negative,” he said. “As Muslims in America, we refuse to be victims in America.”
Bata said the young men who vandalized the building did so out of ignorance. He said if they’d come and knocked on the front door, they would’ve been welcomed with open arms and their questions would’ve been answered without hesitation.
Monday’s news conference also included representatives from the office of Rep. Andre Carson (D-Indianapolis) and the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, which condemned the vandalism and renewed calls for a hate crime bill in Indiana.