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Vandalism at mosque prompts offers of help

SHARE Vandalism at mosque prompts offers of help

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Non-Muslims have offered space, money and other support for worshippers after vandals drilled holes in the floors of the city's oldest mosque, ripped up copies of the Quran and pulled water pipes from walls.

Mohammed Shareef, president of the Islamic Foundation of Central Ohio, said the three-story Islamic Center of Columbus will not be usable for some time. The vandalism caused more than $100,000 in damage.

The Congregation Tifereth Israel and the Rotary Club of Columbus have offered to help while the center is closed, and the Rev. Timothy Ahrens of the First Congregational Church has offered the use of classrooms and the parish hall, which can hold about 300 people.

Muslim community leaders want authorities to pursue the vandalism as a hate crime because stiffer penalties would apply.