A Muslim school in Rhode Island was targeted Saturday by vandals with obscene graffiti and the FBI has now begun a civil rights investigation.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations tells NBC News it considers the vandalism a hate crime and urged "the strongest possible charges [be] brought against the perpetrators once they are apprehended."
"I find it very upsetting," Rabbi Sarah Mack of Temple Beth-El in Providence tells the Journal. "The Muslim community in Rhode Island is very open and peaceful."
The Boston division of the FBI has joined West Warwick, R.I., police in investigating the incident, the Journal reports.
"The FBI takes these matters very seriously," the agency said in a news release.
Hilmy Bakri, the president of the school's Board of Trustees, released a statementon the school's Facebook page in regard to the vandalism.
"The Board of Trustees and our principal are parents ourselves," the statement reads. "So this is not something that we take lightly, but we do believe that this is the work of small-minded ignorant person. ... It's unfortunate that we have this type of evil done by such people; and whoever and whereever they are I hope that they become rightly guided and feel remorse for their action."
CAIR officials say the incident in Rhode Island follows two others considered possible anti-Islamic hate crimes: the three Muslims killed in North Carolina and the possible arson in a fire Friday at the Quba Islamic Institute in Houston.