An Islamic center in Alpharetta was the victim of vandalism Sunday night.
Someone used white paint to write “London justice” and “Where is justice” on a sign at the entrance of the Islamic Center of North Fulton, according to the Alpharetta Police Department.
The phrases apparently are in response to the fatal attack of a British soldier by two Muslim extremist in east London on May 22. The two men were shot by police but are recovering in the hospital. Eight others have been arrested in connection with the incident. The death has prompted anti-Muslim attacks in the United Kingdom.
An anonymous eyewitness told Alpharetta police that they saw the person defacing the sign. The witness approached the suspect, described as an elderly white male who was wearing a rag on his head and short pants, and was speaking with an English accent, according to the police report.
“The eyewitness asked the man what he was doing and the man immediately took off in the bushes and fled the area,” Alpharetta police spokesman George Gordon told Channel 2 Action News.
Chairman of the center Moiz Mumtaz told Channel 2 that the center hasn’t experienced anything like this since it opened in 1998.
“I’m just totally surprised and disappointed that something like this has happened,” Mumtaz said. “This particular center hasn’t done anything, but sometimes people take their frustrations and anger … with someone who is innocent.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is asking for authorities to investigate the vandalism as a hate crime.
“We urge law enforcement authorities to send a clear message that bias attacks on American houses of worship will not be tolerated and that the perpetrators will be brought to justice,” CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper wrote in a press release.
Police have made the Joint Terrorism Task Force aware of the incident. If caught, the man will face felony charges.
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