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Gov. Youngkin visits West End Islamic Center hit by vandalism

Gov. Youngkin visits West End Islamic Center hit by vandalism
Posted at 5:52 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 18:35:34-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Governor Glenn Youngkin visited a Henrico Islamic Center that has been the target of vandals twice in the last sixth months.

The visit also fell on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. The holiday marks the end of Ramadan.

Gov. Youngkin toured the under-construction center and offered support following the recent vandalism.

"I want you to know how important this is to come to see what you're building, but also know that we're locked arm in arm to make sure you're safe," Youngkin said.

The latest incident of vandalism caused about $2,500 in damage. Despite this, the members of the center say that it's not about the money.

While the motive is still unknown, many say that they are hoping for the best but assuming the worst.

"Definitely felt like a hate crime. Because you come in, this is the one place you want but you don't expect that to happen," Syed Perwez, a treasurer with the center's board of trustees, said.

ALSO READ: Congregation heartbroken after Islamic Center vandalized during Ramadan: 'Why are they doing this?'

Those with the center add that the vandalism has led to an outpouring of support from people of all faiths.

"Whether they came and dropped off flowers, they came and dropped off checks for donations, they did online donations. We just love this community," Imtiaz Sattar, the chairman of the center's board of trustees, said.

Members said that when Gov. Youngkin's office reached out to the center, they saw it as a chance to build more bridges.

"Doesn't matter which side of the aisle you're on, right? We're all human beings. I feel like this was a good first step in developing a relationship."

During the meeting, there were discussions about how Governor Youngkin's office could support the whole Muslim community, including required training for Virginia's police officers about their faith.

Afterward, Youngkin added the other key moment was to condemn any kind of crime committed in a statement of hate.

"And I think we've got a real opportunity to stand up together and make sure that we put a stop to this," Youngkin said.

Henrico County Police said that their investigation into the vandalism is ongoing. They are asking anyone with information to come forward.

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