PLAINFIELD, Ind. -- The headquarters of the Islamic Society of North America in Plainfield was vandalized Sunday morning.
According to a spokesperson for the Plainfield Police Department, three suspects were seen on camera just before 7 a.m. Sunday morning. No one is in custody.
WATCH THAT SURVEILLANCE VIDEO IN THE PLAYER ABOVE
The writings had profanity, racial epithets and references to suicide bombings and ISIS. The FBI has opened a hate crimes investigation.
Somebody saw a truck drive away from the building around that time, but didn't think anything of it, Hazem Bata, the Secretary General of the ISNA said.
Bata also thanked the people who committed the crime.
"I want to thank the vandals for highlighting the fact that the bonds between Muslims and their fellow Americans and the bonds between Muslims and their brothers and sisters in other faiths is stronger than the bond between spray paint and brick. The spray paint is already gone. It's washed away. But our partners are still here. And they're not going anywhere. ... We want to thank the vandals for enabling us to see friends and interfaith partners who otherwise we probably wouldn't have seen for many, many months."
Bata also advised anybody thinking of doing something similar to simply knock instead of vandalizing.
"If you're going to bother to drive all the way to a mosque, walk up to the front door. Instead of spray painting the wall around the front door, just try knocking instead. We will gladly open our doors to you. We will invite you in. We will answer any questions you have. More than likely, we're going to feed you some really good kebabs and biryani. We're going to break bread together. And you'll walk away with a full stomach, as well as having learned something about your fellow Americans, and probably having made some new friends, rather than having committed a crime."
WATCH BATA'S FULL SPEECH IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.
"Muslims have had their places of worship spray painted and vandalized before," Bata said. "In fact, we've endured much worse than that.
Gov. Mike Pence said he condemns vandalism against places of worship "in the strongest of possible terms."
I have directed @IndStatePolice to provide any and all assistance in bringing the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice.— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) February 29, 2016
Representative Andre Carson said it was a "senseless, hate-filled attack."
Many people of other faiths showed up in support of the Islamic Society Monday morning.
"It's a matter of working together to know each other, to understand people of other backgrounds, if it's religion or ethnicity or language," Habibe Ali, the chief operations officer of the ISNA, said. We need to know each other because we're all citizens and we be supportive and we need to build a good society together."
The Muslim Alliance of Indiana also released a statement expressing their solidarity with ISNA and to condemn the vandalism.
We take solace in the outpouring of interfaith support for INSA at their press conference this morning, and strongly believe that the interfaith community's support sends a message that is much stronger than the one being perpetuated by the islamaphobe fear mongers. The Muslim Alliance of Indiana stays resolute in its mission of cultivating interfaith understanding and harmony - Rima Shahid, Executive Director, Muslim Alliance of Indiana
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