(FRESNO, CA, 9/10/18) – The Central California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today expressed solidarity with the Christian community following possibly bias-motivated vandalism targeting a Fresno church over the weekend.
A deacon on Sunday morning discovered the front window of the East Fresno Baptist Church was broken, the church was ransacked, and its Christian flag was burned.
Police believe the incident could be a hate crime.
READ: Southeast Fresno Church Vandalized, Police Call It a Hate Crime (YourCentralValley.com)
In a statement, CAIR-Sacramento Valley’s (CAIR-SV) Executive Director Basim Elkarra said:
“We condemn this attack on the East Fresno Baptist Church and offer our solidarity with the local Christian community. Everyone should be free to practice their religion in peace and without fear. If a house of worship can’t be a safe space, what can?”
He said CAIR and the American Muslim community have in the past expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities in New York, Indiana, New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and other states following acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.
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CAIR California (CAIR-CA) found that there was a marked rise in anti-Muslim bias incidents in California in 2017, as detailed in the new CAIR-CA Civil Rights Report. CAIR-CA recorded an 8 percent increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2017 compared to 2016.
Elkarra urged community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-SV’s Civil Rights Department at 916-441-6269 or by filing a report at http://bit.ly/cairsvreport.
CONTACT: CAIR-SV Communications Manager Kalin Kipling, 916-441-6269, firstname.lastname@example.org