04/12/2016 11:45 EDT

Ottawa Islamic School Hit With 'Die Bombers' Graffiti, Police Probe Hate Crime

"It's very upsetting."


A hate crime investigation has been launched by Ottawa police after an Islamic elementary school was hit with graffiti.

The graffiti on the back wall of the Ahlul- Bayt Islamic Education Centre was discovered on Monday morning. Scrawled in spray paint read the words "Die Bombers," "ISIS Go Home" and "F**k the New World," according to CBC News.

Students from junior kindergarten to Grade 8 are enrolled at the private not-for-profit school.

"It's very upsetting," said Nour Matar, a teaching assistant at the centre. "It intimidates our students, it intimidates the staff here and it's really sad to see that even though we're Canadian citizens, people always try to scare us."

Police told The Huffington Post Canada that racist graffiti was the most common form of hate crime in Ottawa.

Students were kept inside the school during recess while the graffiti was cleaned up, according to CTV News.

Kelly-Anne Maddox, a resident who notified police about the messages, told CBC News the incident seemed to be a "deliberate targeting" of children, since the wall faces the school's playground.

"We were horrified, we were absolutely appalled that somebody would do that," she said.

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