Burglary investigated as hate crime in Fairfax Co.

WASHINGTON — A Fairfax County family says that burglars who broke into their apartment this weekend left an offensive message about Muslims on the wall before taking off with immigration records and valuable wedding gifts.

County police are investigating the crime as a bias-related incident, or what is commonly called a hate crime, police said.

The family members are Muslims, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights organization which spoke with the family.

The victims, who live in the Huntington area south of Alexandria, told police that property was stolen, a Quran was damaged, and the words “F___ Muslims” were scrawled in large writing on a wall, CAIR said in a statement.

WTOP’s news partners, NBC Washington, reported the family also discovered that several green cards and more than $25,000 in gold they received as wedding gifts was stolen.

The victims said the break-in happened sometime between Friday and Monday, according to the police.

The couple agreed to speak to NBC Washington, but only on the condition that their first names be used.

Wife Mahrukh said seeing the damage was like a bad dream. “Especially when we saw that written on the wall and the Quran torn into pieces on the floor, and my paintings — they were just torn apart and on the floor. That was just shocking,” she said.

“Never in a million years would I have imagined that something like this would happen in this area.  It’s such a safe place, and everyone that we’ve ever met has been so nice,” said her husband, Shoaib.

The couple is originally from Pakistan and moved their family to the D.C. area from Dubai in February.

A maintenance worker found the vandalism when he entered the apartment to do work, police said.

Police have no suspects at this point.

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Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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