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Moorhead man charged with hate crime for vandalizing mosque

The 22-year-old told a police sergeant that he spray painted the messages as a "joke," according to the criminal complaint.
Credit: KVLY

MOORHEAD, Minn. — A 22-year-old man has been charged with a hate crime for vandalizing a mosque in Moorhead with racist and anti-Muslim messages.

Benjamin Stewart Enderle was taken into custody Tuesday night in south Moorhead after police received key information from a local business employee that led to his identification. 

The vandalism, which authorities say included anti-Muslim, neo-Nazi and racist images, was discovered Sunday morning on the outside of the Moorhead Fargo Islamic Community Center. Video surveillance from the building captured images of a suspect wearing a camouflage jacket and dark ski mask. 

RELATED: Man arrested in connection to hate messages at Fargo-Moorhead mosque

Enderle is charged with gross misdemeanor harassment and felony criminal damage to property, both with a "bias" motivation. According to a criminal complaint filed in Clay County on Thursday, Enderle told a police sergeant that he spray painted the center as a "joke" and doesn't "hate them."

“We welcome the arrest in this troubling case, thank the investigators involved, and hope the swift apprehension of the alleged perpetrator sends a strong message to others who would contemplate engaging in bias-motivated crimes,” said Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of CAIR-MN, a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

Residents of the Moorhead and Fargo, North Dakota metropolitan area turned out with brushes, chemicals, and power washers Monday to help remove the images from the mosque.

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