Two more mosques vandalised in the US state

Two more mosques vandalised in the US state
2 min read
14 December, 2015
Vandals have spray-painted two US mosques with Islamophobic graffiti in what police suspect is a hate crime against California's Muslim population.
Hate crimes against Muslims continue to rise in the US [AFP]
Two mosques in the California city of Hawthorne have been left badly damaged by vandals and a device resembling a hand grenade left in the grounds of one.

Californian police are treating both incidents as possible hate crimes.

A bomb squad was called to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Baitus-Salaam Mosque, which was evacuated after the device was discovered around 6:30am.

Investigators determined the device was a plastic replica of a hand grenade. The word "Jesus" was sprayed in white paint on the mosque's fence.

Police received another call that the phrase "Jesus is the way" was spray-painted in front of the Islamic Center of Hawthorne.

Police and the FBI were investigating the vandalism, which appeared to have occurred overnight, as hate crimes.

"This type of behavior is born out of ignorance and fear and we as members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community ... we respond with peaceful dialogue," said Ahsan M. Khan, a chapter president of the community.

"It's through peaceful dialogue that we can hopefully see less of this type of hate crime," he said.

On Friday, a mosque in Palm Springs was damaged in a fire that authorities said was intentionally set.

They arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the fire and booked him for investigation of commission of a hate crime, arson, maliciously setting a fire and burglary.

The fire at the Islamic Center of Palm Springs was contained to the small building's front lobby, and no one was injured.

The mosque is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from San Bernardino, where a mass shooting of 14 people by suspected Islamist extremists took place earlier in the month.

Some Muslims in Southern California and beyond have worried about the potential for reprisals, while leaders of various faiths have called for tolerance.