Waterloo Regional Police say they are investigating after a mosque in Cambridge was vandalized on Wednesday afternoon.
Police believe the suspects forced their way into the Baitul Kareem Mosque on Elliott Street before the damage was done.
Police say the call came in at 5:30 p.m. and police were on the scene a short time later and that the forensic identification team was brought in to process the scene.
Thousands of dollars in damage were done according to Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada, in what the organization is terming as an “act of hate.”
A spokesperson for the organization told Global News the fact that the damage was done between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. was very alarming.
Asif Kahn said when an imam returned to the mosque, he heard the intruders inside which caused him to exit the premises and call for help.
He said police arrived a short time later but the destruction had already been done.
“Basically the entire kitchen was kind of destroyed,” Kahn said. “Appliances were just ripped apart, things tossed, electronics stolen, the surveillance system was completely smashed and destroyed.”
It is uncertain how much damage was done but Kahn said the final bill will be thousands of dollars.
“I guess our estimate is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of, say, $10,000 to $25,000 but until our property guys get there, they won’t have the proper estimate,” he explained.
Kahn says while the vandals didn’t leave a clue of their intentions inside, he did say it wasn’t something where you just came in to steal a TV and leave or you didn’t just come for a place to hide out, do drugs or something like that.
“It was more than that.”
For their part, police say they are still working to determine the motive behind the crime.
“Members of our hate crime team are involved in the investigation and we are working to determine the exact motive behind this incident,” Const. Andre Johnson said.
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“We are actively investigating. We do have several units involved in this and we have deployed significant resources towards this investigation.”
He said officers are currently in the area working to see if there is any security camera footage available and was unable to provide any suspect information.
“We are encouraging anyone who might have been in the area who has dash cam footage to review it and to notify us as well,” Johnson said. “But that will be part of the investigation to review all of the area.”
Kahn noted that the Muslim community remains committed to building bridges with other parts of the community in an effort to make certain incidents like these do not occur again.
“I will say that our community’s motto is ‘love for all, hatred for none’ and I know that seems a little bit odd to be kind of saying at this time, but if this was hate-motivated and whoever those individuals are, we’re not out to get anybody,” he explained.
“This isn’t the Canadian way.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada says it has raised its security measures at its mosques and prayer centres across the country.