TEMPE – Muslim leaders and police spoke out against the latest attack at a Tempe mosque after vandals spray-painted the front door early Thursday.

A witness spotted two men painting the door of the mosque with a swastika, a thunderbolt-shaped “SS” and other Nazi symbols about 2 a.m. Deedra Abboud, director of the Council of American Islamic Relations in Arizona, said no one was in the building at the time, but surveillance videos may have recorded the suspects.

Abboud joined other Muslims and Tempe Police Chief Ralph Tranter on Thursday at a press conference outside the Islamic Cultural Center, where the mosque is housed near Sixth Street and Forest Avenue. This is the fifth incident of vandalism at the center this year. In July, vandals set fire to a car parked there, and the three other incidents also involved vehicles, Abboud said.

Police are looking for two men, 19 to 22 years old, who were seen in a faded red, 1970s pickup truck.

Tranter promised to increase patrols near the center, which is around the corner from the police station.

“This is as clear as you can get that a hate crime has occurred,” Tranter said”¦

Anyone with information is urged to call Tempe police at (480) 350-8311.


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