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Vandalism at West Philadelphia mosque under investigation: police

Police investigates vandalism at West Philadelphia mosque
Police investigates vandalism at West Philadelphia mosque 02:10

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Police are investigating vandalism targeting a mosque in West Philadelphia. It happened around 3 a.m. Friday morning on the 4200 block of Walnut Street of Masjid Al-Jamia of Philadelphia.

A man in a red coat and blue jeans was captured on surveillance video.

Philadelphia Police Department

"I just couldn't believe what happened," Ahmad Ibrahim, a member of Masjid Al-Jamia, said. "It's absolutely disgusting" 

"He sprayed a Star of David, he sprayed a communist symbol at the end," Calvin Shuja Moore, director of Masjid Al-Jamia, said. "He wrote 'Give a chance' and he had a peace sign."

While Philadelphia police investigate this incident, which is the third involving the vandalism of a mosque in Philly in the last two months, Ahmet Tekelioglu, executive director of the civil rights and advocacy group known as CAIR [The Council on American-Islamic Relations] believes there's a reason for a rise in these incidents.

RELATED: Hateful message written on mosque door in Upper Providence Township under investigation

CAIR is calling for increased security and police protection in West Philly and for all communities in the city to stand united in the face of these acts. They also called on police to investigate the vandalism as a hate crime.

RELATED: Muslim community wants vandalism at a South Philadelphia mosque to be investigated as hate crime

Moore who said he is concerned about the vandalism, remains resolute in standing on his faith while also focusing on unity.

Tekelioglu said he feels shame for our broader humanity for the inability to universally condemn the deaths of over 20,000 in Gaza since the war between Israel and Hamas began.

He also shared this: "I'm feeling hopeful at the same time, simultaneously, because I'm seeing people from different religions, backgrounds, generations advocating for peace, humanity."

The investigation is ongoing.

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