Los Angeles: Two mosques have been vandalised with paint in the US state of California in the latest in a series of episodes of arson at Muslim houses of worship in the past few days, prompting the FBI to open a hate crimes investigation.
Worshippers who arrived on Sunday morning at the Islamic Center of Hawthorne found the words ‘Jesus is the way’ spray-painted on the building, said Christopher Port, a spokesman for the Hawthorne Police Department, CBS news reported.
The word “Jesus” was also spray-painted in white on an outer wall of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Baitus-Salaam Mosque in Hawthorne, he said, adding an object resembling a hand grenade was found in its driveway. The object was found to be “a plastic replica”,
Police and the FBI were investigating the vandalism on Saturday night as hate crimes.
The vandalism in Hawthorne came two days after a person was was arrested in nearby Riverside County and charged with arson, hate crime and burglary after the police said he set fire to a mosque, the Islamic Society of Coachella Valley.
The mosque is about 75 miles from San Bernardino, where a Pakistani-origin couple who federal officials say were inspired by Islamist extremists opened indiscriminate firing on fire December 2 at a holiday luncheon and killed 14 people.
Two days before the fire in Coachella, the police in Buena Park, California, opened a hate crimes investigation after a Sikh temple was vandalised.
Expletive-laced graffiti was sprayed on walls in the parking lot of the temple, Gurdwara Singh Sabha, as well as on a tractor-trailer parked there.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, told New York Times said the country had experienced “an unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim incidents” since the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks.