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Fort Morgan vandalism investigated as hate crimes

By: Associated Press
March 3, 2014 Updated: March 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm
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FORT MORGAN, Colo. — A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is calling on federal authorities to investigate a series of apparent hate attacks on East African Muslims in Fort Morgan.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday vandals have targeted vehicles owned by members of a Muslim refugee community after police and community members said a number of cars have been vandalized and spray painted with racial slurs.

"Because of the apparent bias motive for these attacks and because they seem to target a religious and ethnic minority, we urge the FBI to assist local and state law enforcement agencies in the investigation," said Islamic council spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

Department of Justice spokesman Jeffrey Dorschner said Monday federal officials have received the request and are reviewing it.

Fort Morgan police spokesman John Brennan said Monday police are investigating several cases of vandalism that targeted vehicles in the city's Somali East African refugee community as possible hate crimes. He said the department has not asked for a federal investigation.

Police said someone shot out the windows of about five cars with a BB gun early Sunday. Several vehicles in the same area were spray-painted with obscenities and racial slurs on Feb. 9.

"This will not be tolerated," said Fort Morgan Police Chief Darren Sagel.

Khalif Ali, whose window was shot out, said he is afraid, KMGH-TV reported Monday (http://tinyurl.com/q65kzvz).

"Maybe they do not like people from other countries coming in," he said.

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Information from: KMGH-TV, http://www.thedenverchannel.com

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