A Hilliard man has been charged with vandalizing a Columbus-area mosque, in an incident that the Franklin County prosecutor and investigators are now calling a hate crime.
A Franklin County grand jury charged Todd Williams with a felony count of desecration, and two misdemeanor counts for ethnic intimidation and criminal mischief.
Williams is accused of writing anti-Islamic messages on the windows of the Ahlul-Bayt Society Islamic Center in northwest Columbus this February.
“Allah Is A Fraud Dum Dums” and “Repent Turn To True God + Jesus Or Burn 4 Ever," Williams wrote on the mosque, according to Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien.
The FBI and Perry Township police investigated the incident and identified Williams' license plate in the Islamic Center's surveillance video of the crime.
O'Brien says Williams admitted to the crime in questioning.
While there's no evidence of a hate crime in Williams' background, O'Brien says, there has been a rise in local anti-Islamic crime over the past two years.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has seen an increase in the number of people reporting incidents of anti-Islamic bias since the presidential election. CAIR Legal Director Romin Iqbal says the organization's pleased with the investigation.
Williams is due to appear in court April 20 for his arraignment.