US Islamic center vandalized, hate crime investigation underway

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An Islamic center at New Jersey’s Rutgers University was vandalized on the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, according to authorities who said they are investigating it as a hate crime.

A building at the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University had its windows shattered, artwork smashed, TVs and printers broken as well as a Palestinian flag destroyed, the group’s chairwoman, Atiya Aftab, said in a statement.

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“This reprehensible act, occurring on our sacred day, is undoubtedly fueled by Islamophobia, is clearly a hate crime targeting our Muslim population at Rutgers,” Aftab said.

The Rutgers University Police Department said in a statement it is investigating a burglary, criminal mischief and bias crime that it says happened about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday at the center in New Brunswick. The site was unoccupied when it the incident happened, according to police.

New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin called the incident “appalling” and said his office is working to investigate it along with other officials.

“Let me be clear: New Jersey will not tolerate acts of hate against the Muslim community,” Platkin said in a statement.

The incident comes after Platkin’s office reported a recent spike in bias incidents in the state.

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