Hate crime investigation urged by US civil rights groups in vandalism of Oregon mosque

Hate crime investigation urged by US civil rights groups in vandalism of Oregon mosque
Vandalism at a mosque in Oregon has come as a surprise to neighbours, who have had a good relationship with the centre. Civil rights advocates are calling for a hate crime probe. Last year, Oregon saw the vandalism of a mosque and two synagogues.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
16 May, 2023
A mosque has been vandalised in Oregon. [Getty]

Civil rights advocates in the United States are urging for a hate crime probe following the vandalism of a mosque in Oregon.

The incident took place on Thursday at Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center. The words "Jesus Loves U" were found spray painted on the mosque's outside wall and on the sidewalk in front of the mosque, according to photos in a local news report

Though the words were not explicitly violent, the act of writing them on a mosque is provocative.

"This hypocritical call to 'love' is really an expression of hatred when it targets a house of worship with vandalism and should be investigated as a possible hate crime," said Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in a public statement

"If the perpetrators really sought to engage Muslims, they could have walked through the mosque's door to respectfully discuss their religious beliefs and those of the Muslim community," he said.

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The mosque, which has been in the neighbourhood for three decades, has reportedly had a good relationship with neighbours, who have expressed dismay at the incident.

"It's a house of worship. You just don't do that to a house of worship," Sandra Landish, a nearby resident, told a local news outlet KEZI.

"I love being across from the mosque. I love hearing very early in the morning, the sound of prayer," Landish said, noting the generally peaceful environment in the area. "It's like being under a wonderful umbrella. A wonderful peaceful umbrella."

So far, there have been no leads on the vandalism, which was not caught on camera. Mosque leaders are trying not to be too alarmed, suggesting it might have been done by young college students. 

This incident follows several from last year in Oregon, where a man from Portland was charged after vandalising a mosque and two synagogues.