California mosques fall victim to hate crime during Ramadan

Published 25.06.2017 15:52
Updated 25.06.2017 15:56

Two Islamic centers in California were the victims of anti-Muslim hate crime on Saturday, with desecrated Qurans found outside the buildings on Saturday.

Residents arriving at the Masjid Annur Islamic Center in Sacramento found a burned Quran filled with bacon handcuffed to a fence outside the building, according to local law enforcement.

Although the incident has not been formally recognized as a hate crime yet, the Sacramento Sheriff's Department said in a statement, "Sheriff's Hate Crime detectives were called to the scene to begin their investigation into the possible hate crime."

The police station located next to the Masjid Annur Islamic Center, which is the largest Islamic building in the greater Sacramento area, has not prevented individuals from targeting the local Muslim community.

A second Islamic center experienced a similar incident in Davis, California, which is 20 miles away from Sacramento.

During Ramadan prayers on Friday, an individual left a "large quantity" of cut-up Quran pages outside the Islamic Center of Davis, according to Sergeant Dan Powell of the Davis Police Department.

Powell stated, "There is no video of any suspects or video of the incident occurring, but we are calling this a hate incident."

The Davis center had been targeted earlier in January, when 30-year-old Lauren Kirk-Coehlo smashed windows, damaged property and left bacon on the door handles.

Kirk-Coelho pleaded guilty to a felony hate crime and received a sentence of five years' probation on June 15.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) Sacramento chapter described the incidents as "apparent acts of intimidation" and expressed its thanks to local police for their efficient response.

Executive director of the Sacramento CAIR chapter Basim Elkarra noted that the police response was vital to preventing such attacks in future, saying, "Decisive action by law enforcement authorities sends a strong message of deterrence to anyone who contemplates turning their bigoted views into acts of intimidation."

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