U.S. Authorities: Vandalism at a California mosque hate crime
|Wednesday, September 8,2010 15:18|
A group called American Nationalist Brotherhood claimed responsibility for the attacks of vandalism at a mosque in Madera California in what was described as a 'hate crime' by local officials. Signs were left at Madera's mosque after a brick nearly smashed a window with "Wake up America, the enemy is here," and "No temple for the god of terrorism" written on them
The LA Times writes that U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner stressed that prosecuting hate crimes is a priority, particularly in the Eastern District of California, which includes Madera County.
"It's an environment with rapid urbanization. The diversity and change that makes California such a great place also means … there are more potential flashpoints," he said. "This office has a lot of experience prosecuting hate crimes."
While Central California has witnessed an increase in Muslim communities, only about 200 Muslims are found in Madera which has a population of 58,000
Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, director of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, commended the attorney's announcement of investigation and welcomed the community's solidarity with the small Muslim community maintaining that:
"It's a declaration that our society, our government will not tolerate hate crimes, no matter what," he said. "But we still really hope local and national law enforcement increase patrols around Islamic centers during the next three days.
Wagner emphasized that the personal stands of the community in Madera helped law enforcement adding
"There's no way to measure it in terms of crimes that aren't committed, but often the perpetrators of hate crimes are under the misguided impression that they are attacking an outlying community no one cares about," he said. "It helps law enforcement when the greater community speaks up and corrects that impression."