Authorities are investigating a bias incident at the Hillside Islamic Center in North New Hyde Park, Nassau County police said.
According to detectives, Third Precinct patrol officers responded to the Hillside Avenue center about 5:45 p.m. Friday after an employee discovered a large painting of Christ on a cross. The picture was found hanging from the property’s fence, police said.
A representative for the center could not immediately be reached for comment. In a news release issued Sunday, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on whoever left the painting to learn what Muslims believe.
“Bias may have motivated this incident, but it could serve as a teaching moment for the perpetrator and for the community if it leads to greater understanding of the love Muslims have for Jesus, peace be upon him,” the statement said. It added, “The spiritual legacy of Jesus [peace be upon him] should be a unifying factor for Muslims and Christians, not a source of division or bigotry.”
The statement said that since the beginning of the year, the organization’s national office has called for investigations of possible bias motives for “dozens” of other incidents targeting mosques in New York and many other states.
Detectives asked anyone with information about the incident to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477.