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Posted at 02:37 PM ET, 01/31/2012

Chantilly mosque vandalized

Vandals attacked an under-construction mosque in Chantilly over the weekend, causing extensive damage, authorities said.

All of the mosque’s first-level windows and door glass were shattered by thrown rocks, causing about $60,000 in damages, according to Usman Ghumman, general secretary for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Mosque.

He said the doors and windows were custom made to match the mosque’s design and artifacts.

Fairfax County police found the damage the morning of Jan. 30, but said there is no evidence that the vandals entered the building. Empty beer cans, liquor bottles and rocks were also found scattered on the mosque’s grounds and roof.

“If one or two windows were broken, we would have thought it was a random act of vandalism, but all fingers are pointing toward being a hate crime,” Ghumman said.

EMSI Engineering began construction on the mosque, located at 4555 Ahmadiyya Drive, in January 2011, according to Ghumman. Building was slated to finish by the end of February, but the Ahmadiyya Muslim community — whose motto is “Love for All, Hatred for None” — will have to wait at least another month for the house of worship to open.

“We’re devastated at the incident but we believe it’s something we will overcome,” Ghumman said. “The community has been very supportive and sympathetic as far as what occurred. The majority of the people we meet and greet at the site are very anxious to see the completion of the mosque. ... They see it as a beautiful landmark on the hill.”

The mosque’s construction has been funded entirely by donations from the D.C-area Ahmadiyya community and a loan from their national center, according to Ghumman.

“There’s no government funding and it’s sad to see so much community money go to waste,” he said. “We’re already in a deficit and we’ve been working really hard as far as collection goes.”

Now the community will need to raise additional funds, Ghumman said. “It’s hard to overcome.”

Ghumman said the mosque’s community has lived in Fairfax County for decades and is deeply rooted in the area. He said he wasn’t aware of specific threats to the mosque before it was vandalized.

“When there is animosity created by people who are in the media or by what’s going on overseas and terrorism, [people] want to label each and every Muslim as the same,” he said. “When people do not know anything about the beauty of Islam, naturally, they are going to have the wrong impression of the religion.”

Police are continuing the investigation. Anyone with information about the case can contact Crime Solvers at (866) 411-TIPS/8477.

This item has been updated.

Read more: The Post’s crime coverage

By Rachel S. Karas  |  02:37 PM ET, 01/31/2012

 
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