PRINCETON, W.Va. -- Police are investigating after someone spray-painted anti-Muslim words onto an Islamic center in Mercer County this week.Staff at the Islamic Society of the Appalachian Region near Princeton discovered the vandalism on Monday, said Mercer County Sheriff's Deputy E.P. Parks.The graffiti was sprayed onto the front of the center and on the center's sign sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning, Parks said. Deputies are beefing up patrols around the center, Parks said, which is located near U.S. 460.Dr. Riaz Riaz< co>, president of the center, told the Bluefield Daily-Telegraph on Wednesday that the building was last targeted for hateful graffiti after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Another member of the center told the newspaper he planned to hire a contractor to scrub off the graffiti this week.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement on Thursday calling for federal authorities to investigate the vandalism as a hate crime."Just as we have requested following past hate incidents targeting American mosques, we urge the FBI to join with local authorities in investigating this case and bringing the perpetrators to justice," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper in a news release.Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call the Mercer County Sheriff's Department at 304-487-8364.