Islamic Center of Davis victim of hate crime

AGGIE FILE
AGGIE FILE

Local Masjid had broken windows, slices of bacon on door

The Islamic Center of Davis was the victim of vandalism early on the morning of Jan. 22, the suspect of which appears in a surveillance video as a female with long hair. Windows of the Masjid were broken and bacon was put on door handles in an attempt to offend the sensibilities of the Muslim community (Muslims are prohibited from eating pork).  

“I think it’s really important to recognize that what is happening is kind of a surprise to all of us,” said Nida Ahmed, the internal vice president of the Muslim Student Association of UC Davis. “We just kind of woke up to this news that our Masjid, or our mosque, had been vandalized.”

This incident, now being treated as a hate crime, comes in the wake of controversy surrounding an event hosted by the Davis College Republicans (DCR), featuring Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News. Yiannopoulos has been called a spokesperson for the “alt-right”, and his invitation to speak at UC Davis caused immediate outcry and protest, resulting in the cancellation of the event.

The crime also came just two days after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, who has advocated for the “extreme vetting” of Muslim persons.

The two events coinciding with this most recent hate crime have been the subject of discussion amongst those affected by the crime and their allies. However, members of the mosque have expressed their desire to continue to participate with Davis in spreading a message of tolerance.

“Whenever something like this happens we’re always taken aback,” Nida said. “But I think something that we’re going to do to move forward is to engage with our communities. We’re going to make sure that they know that we’re here […] and that we are a part of this community.”

The Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV) issued a statement calling on state and federal law enforcement. The organization is offering a monetary reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the perpetrator.

“We ask state law enforcement authorities and the FBI to investigate the apparent bias motive for this vandalism and to bring the perpetrator to justice,” said Basim Elkarra, the executive director of CAIR-SV in a press release. “The swift apprehension and punishment of those responsible for this act of religious intimidation will send the message that the growing Islamophobia we are witnessing in our nation will not be tolerated or ignored.”

In a message to the community, Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter, Mayor Robb Davis and Adela de la Torre, vice chancellor for student affairs and campus diversity extended their sympathy to those who were affected by the crime.

“We want to express the disgust, outrage, and sadness we feel over this incident. We know that it has caused, and continues to cause, great distress and fear among members of the Muslim communities at UC Davis and in the City of Davis,” the message said.

In an effort to mend the damage inflicted on the Islamic Center, a LaunchGood funding campaign was started on Jan. 22 to raise money for repairs. The project has since raised almost 20,000 dollars, more than twice the initial goal amount, in less than 48 hours.

In collaboration with ASUCD, the Muslim Student Association is hosting a lecture series, “The Davis Muslim,” “to spread awareness about Islam on campus, in light of recent historical events”

“Even though this incident has happened, we’ve seen an outpour of love,” Nida said.

Donate to the campaign, or learn more about the Islamic Center of Davis on its website.

Written by: Samantha Solomon — city@theaggie.org