SHAFAQNA -Â A gang of masked men attacked a mosque in Massachusetts on Wednesday night, leaving several windows broken, citing an official and a community leader.Â
The attack on the Ahiska Turkish American Cultural Center and Mosque in the city of West Springfield took place at 8.15 p.m. local time when five unidentified masked men began hurling stones, YaÅŸar Ã‡olak, religious affairs counselor at Turkey’s Embassy in Washington, said.Â
“We are investigating whether the attack was motivated by Islamophobia,” Ã‡olak told Anadolu Agency. “It is early to make a comment at this moment, but if we come to such a conclusion, we will take the necessary steps,” he added.Â
Mehdi OsmanlÄ±, president of the mosque, said that there were three people inside the mosque at the time of incident and none of them had hurt.Â
He said that police came to the scene approximately one hour after the attack and launched an investigation.Â
The attack took place at a time when a rising wave of Islamophobia has led to an increase in threats against Muslims in the U.S.Â
The mosque, which was built by Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs and the Council of Ahiska Turkish-American Associations, was opened in March.Â
Ahiska Turks, also known as Meskhetian Turks, were expelled in 1944 from their homeland-the Meskheti region in Georgia-by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, in attempt to deport Turks from the shores of the Black Sea.