DEARBORN (WWJ/AP) – The U.S. Justice Department says the FBI is joining local law enforcement agencies to investigate vandalism at Muslim and Sikh houses of worship in the Detroit area.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade and Detroit FBI chief Andrew Arena announced Thursday that federal authorities will participate in the probes of two attacks that happened this month in suburban Detroit.

On Monday, the American Moslem Bekka Center in Dearborn was vandalized with graffiti, including the words “Chaldean Mob” spray painted across the front of the building.

On Feb. 6, a Sikh gurdwara under construction in Sterling Heights was vandalized with graffiti, including a misspelling of the name of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, along with the misspelled message “Don’t Build.”

A federal hate crimes law makes it a crime to deface or destroy places of religious worship.

“We view these attacks as hate crimes, and we want to assure the public that we are investigating them vigorously,” McQuade said. “All residents of Michigan should feel safe from attack on their places of worship.”

The FBI says anyone with information about either attack should call the bureau at (313) 965-2323.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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