SHAFAQNA-A mosque in Burlington, the US state of Massachusetts, that was the target of graffiti by vandals on Sunday invited community members to write their own messages of love and patriotism on the exterior of the building.
On Wednesday, dozens of people, including different faith leaders, gathered outside the Islamic Center of Burlington. They wrote messages such as “Home of the Free” on white poster paper taped to the same wall where police said vandals repeatedly spray-painted “USA”.
“By writing that they’re trying to scare us away but that just makes us so much stronger,” member Mana Abdala said, CBS reported.
Burlington police were called to the Islamic Center on Sunday where they found the vandalism and several smashed eggs that were thrown at the building.
Authorities announced the arrest of two 18-year-old men in connection with the vandalism on Monday afternoon.
Burlington residents Cameron Cappella and Derrik Demone have been charged with felony counts of malicious destruction of property and tagging property. They were drinking before spray-painting the building, police say.
Police said they arrested the suspects late Monday morning thanks to tips from the community.
Surveillance footage from outside the Islamic Center captured two masked men near the building around the time it was vandalized.
Worshipers were inside the mosque when it was vandalized.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Massachusetts said it will be asking for investigation. It said the graffiti sends an intolerant message that Muslims are not “real Americans.