PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico Islamic center believes it’s the target of a hate crime, after vandals broke in and left thousands in damage. Someone went as far as ripping their Quran, then pouring a drink on it.

Surveying the damage inside their place of worship it’s a hard scene to look at. For people at a small eastern New Mexico Islamic center in Portales. “They are not coming to steal, they’re coming to destroy your worship place that’s what the sad part about it,” said Ahmed Benssouda, “They went in to rip the Quran, Holy Quran, and poured beer on it. They went in stab like the whole entire like the drywall”

Ahmed Benssouda oversees the property but was out of the country when he says his daughter reported the center had been broken into.

Story continues below

“She told me that the there they tear up everything and she showed me the video while she was really really hurt and crying”

Along with holes in the walls and a door, they found alcohol left behind, furniture destroyed, and trash everywhere. They even found a framed photo of Jesus Christ placed on top of the rubble.

A second break-in took place the night of June 23, then vandals broke in again on the 27 damaging the building’s a-c unit. “So the damages is gonna cause like the least I know that it’s gonna be probably around like 30 to $40,000.”

Amid the Islamic new year, Benssouda said the roughly 20 people who use the center don’t feel safe there right now. He’s asking the public for help finding who caused the damage.

“The Portales community they are very very nice community, very current community so I don’t know how this, this can happen.”

Portales police told News 13 that they’re still looking into what happened. So far they’re not classifying the case as a hate crime.