Racist graffiti has been sprayed on the walls of Cumbernauld Mosque and is being treated by police as both vandalism and a hate crime.
The mosque was vandalised with large slogans in black paint some time between late Friday and early Saturday morning. Mosque officials have said that for the time being they are treating the crime as an isolated incident, and that the local community has been generally supportive in recent years.
It’s understood there have been sporadic cases of vandalism in the past, and in one bizarre incident a group of people in paramilitary uniforms tried to hand Christian bibles to worshippers. Until now, the Cumbernauld facility, run by the Islamic Education Trust, has largely escaped the sort of racist hate suffered in the past by some other mosques, notably in Edinburgh.
The graffiti on the Mosque walls included the slogans “Deus Vult” and “Saracens go home”. “Deus Vult” (God wills) was the Christian battle-cry of the 11th century First Crusade, and “Saracens” was a generic medieval term, and insult, used in the west for virtually anyone of the Muslim faith.
Police say an investigation is under way, the incident is being treated as a hate crime, and inquiries are continuing. A spokesperson said: “Hate crime remains a priority for Police Scotland and we work closely with our criminal justice partners to do everything in our power to protect all communities and eradicate all forms of hatred.”
Islamophobic and Anti-Muslim hate crime has been on the rise in recent months. Islamic places of worship are prime targets for extremists and as management of these institutions, it is crucial that they are vigilant to these threats and also well prepared in managing a crisis situation. The following publication has been created specifically for faith institutions to prepare for and manage incidents.