Two suspects charged in Islamic Center vandalism case

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Two men have been charged with violating civil rights after allegedly targeting a Murfreesboro Islamic Center.

Charles Stout III and Thomas Gibbs were indicted by a federal grand jury this week after they allegedly spray painted “F*** Allah” and “We are vandal group” on the building and on the basketball court. The vandals even placed bacon — a prohibited meat in Islamic dietary law — on the door handles, police said.

Investigators said while bother suspects tried to hide their identities, Stout specifically wore a World War II-era Nazi gas mask. He was also indicted back in August for allegedly deleting photos of the crime scene from his phone.

After finding the vandalism in July, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro posted pictures of the damage to Facebook saying they were “deeply troubled and saddened by the expression of anti-Muslim hatred and vandalism against our house of worship and community.”

“We hope that this incident is not a setback to all the progress we have made in our community since the opposition we faced when we built our new facility, just a few years ago. We are certain that this incident will reinforce our unity and will not negatively impact our beautiful city and county,” added Dr. Saleh Sbenaty for the ICM.

Both suspects were charged with conspiring to commit a civil rights violation and committing a civil rights violations. WTVF reported they could spend a year in prison if convicted.