A senior organiser at a north-east mosque said security will have to be stepped up after racist graffiti was daubed on walls.
Lansana Bangura, chairman of the Elgin Islamic Centre, voiced his anger after discovering a swastika and obscene anti-Islamic graffiti on external walls.
He said while the incident, which happened at 11pm on Monday, had come as a shock, the 80 or so Muslims who pray at the mosque would continue to practise “peace and love”.
Detectives are appealing for the public’s help in tracing a man they want to speak to.
Mr Bangura said: “I arrived for the first prayers of the day on Tuesday morning and police knocked on the mosque door and told me what had happened.
“It is utterly senseless. I was so angry that I had to just leave.
“We’ve been open for four years and nothing like this has happened before.
“We have really good relationships with our neighbours and many people have called to say it’s awful.
“People who come here will continue to practise peace and love in their community.”
Moray Council cleaned the graffiti yesterday morning.
Mr Bangura added: “We have a surveillance system that we never got round to installing – because we didn’t need it – but now we’re going to have to, unfortunately.”
Detective Inspector Martin MacDougall said: “Crimes of this nature are completely unacceptable.
“There is absolutely no place for it in our communities and a number of inquiries are ongoing to establish who is responsible.”
Officers are keen to trace a man seen in the area at the time of the incident.
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
He is described as white, aged 30 to 40, around 5ft 10in in, and of a slim build with short brown hair. He was wearing blue jeans and possibly a dark hooded top.
Det Insp Martin said patrols would increase near the mosque and appealed for witnesses to call police on 101.
Elgin Community Council chairman Alastair Kennedy said the incident was “horrific”.
He added: “There is no room in our society for such mindless behaviour.”
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “This is an abhorrent attack on our local Muslim community in this the month of Ramadan and it is more important than ever we all stand together and speak out against such senseless and racist vandalism.”
Ward councillor Graham Leadbitter stated: “The Moray Council graffiti removal team were in attendance from first thing yesterday to remove the deeply offensive messages and we condemn anyone spouting such sentiments.”