Crime - Sacto 911

Two suspected hate crimes in less than two weeks at Davis, Roseville mosques

The second suspected hate crime in less than two weeks against a Sacramento-area mosque occurred in Roseville.

Sometime between 11 p.m. Tuesday and 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, someone spray painted anti-Muslim graffiti on the walls of the Tarbiya Institute, 1830 Sierra Gardens Drive. Roseville police are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime.

“There are no suspects at this time, but an officer and our crime scene technician responded (Wednesday) morning to investigate and canvass the area for any available evidence,” said Dee Dee Gunther, Roseville police spokeswoman, in an email.

She added that Roseville Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the persons responsible for the crime. Anyone with information is asked to call 916-783-7867. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Worshippers discovered the graffiti after early morning prayers. The Islamic center issued a statement that reads in part:

“We refuse to believe that this is reflective of the sentiment in our community. We have experienced nothing but love and compassion. Our neighbors have been outpouring support over the last few weeks, and (Wednesday) morning many of them were in tears at the sight of the graffiti tainting the walls.

“Nonetheless, we at Tarbiya believe that this incident is a microcosm of a sinister spirit that has been perpetuating our country, and sponsored by people in power. This spirit emboldens some who are full of hate to actually take action.”

The attack comes a short time after President Donald Trump temporarily barred refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States. It also comes about 11 days after vandalism at a Davis mosque.

The Davis Police Department continues to investigate the incident at the Davis Islamic Center as a hate crime. Windowpanes were smashed, bicycle tires were sliced and strips of uncooked bacon were placed on an exterior door handle of the center.

Sacramento Valley Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Basim Elkarra said the organization has been disturbed by the rising number of incidents targeting Muslims in the country.

However, he said, “We have been encouraged by the positive community responses in support of those targeted by bigotry. We hope the Sacramento-area community will offer similar support to the families that worship at the Tarbiya Institute.”

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews