A cat was daubed with paint and a car set alight during a break-in at the Christchurch Islamic Centre, but police say the attack was not racially or culturally motivated.
The SPCA was called in to take care of the pet after the overnight vandalism attack was discovered at the centre on Lincoln Rd yesterday morning.
Police said the cat, which lived at the centre, was otherwise uninjured.
A number of items had been strewn around inside and a donation box containing an unknown amount of cash had been stolen.
Outside, two cars that were parked in a secure yard at the rear of the property had been broken into and items stolen. A fire had been lit inside one of the cars, causing minor damage.
Police also discovered a fence at the front of the property had recently been defaced with a graffiti-style tag, but said that may not be connected to the break-in.
Sergeant Todd Webley said there was no indication at this stage that the break-in was racially motivated.
"There are no slogans or messages, or anything that suggests a racial or cultural motivation for the break-in.
"It has all the hallmarks of an opportunistic burglary, and an initial scene examination suggests the offenders may have gained entry through an insecure window."
Police are urging anyone with knowledge of the incident, or who saw any suspicious people or vehicles around the centre on Tuesday night or early yesterday morning, to get in touch.
"This is a very distressing incident for a community organisation and we will do all we can to identify and apprehend the offenders."