The Muslim booth at 7-Mile Fair was vandalized last weekend after more than 15 years of peaceful display and conversations with visitors.
WISN 12 News is reporting that someone stole brochures and tore down posters, but booth organizers aren’t ready to call the vandalism a hate crime.
“I wouldn’t call it a hate crime, but an act of hate I’d call it,” said Rizwan Ahmad from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community told the news station. “(We’ve been) trying to spread the peaceful message of Islam.”
The vandalism comes on the heels of the mass shooting at Pulse, an Orlando, FL, nightclub at which 49 people were gunned down by a lone suspect who is believed to have been sympathetic to ISIS.
Ahmad will continue to attend the booth and talk with passersby about peace, but he admitted to reporter Ben Hutchison that he fears recent acts of terrorism mean more people will paint Muslims with the same radical brush.
“It’s one of those things where people have so much hate in their heart, they’re willing to go trash the message of peace basically,” he is quoted as saying.
While there are security cameras at 7-Mile Fair, none of them have a clear view of the Muslim booth, and fair managers said they will keep a more careful eye out during the coming weekends.