MURFREESBORO, Tenn., Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Vandalism at the site of a proposed mosque in Tennessee should be investigated as a hate crime, Muslim-American leaders say.
A sign marking the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tenn., was spray-painted with the words, "not welcome" last weekend, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday the act was "apparently bias-motivated act of vandalism," and called on local, state, and national law enforcement agencies to treat it as a hate crime, the newspaper said.
"As our nation celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we must come together in a spirit of mutual respect and tolerance, not of hatred or division," council National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a release. "This apparent attempt to divide our nation along religious lines should be investigated as a hate crime and must be repudiated by all those who respect the principle of religious diversity."
The Tennessean said it got no replies during the holiday weekend from the FBI offices in Nashville and Memphis, or from the Rutherford County, Tenn., Sheriff's Office.