LINCOLN-(KFOR Jan. 15)-Lincoln Police are investigating vandalism at the South Street Temple near 20th and South as a hate crime. The incident occurred shortly after midnight Monday, but it wasn’t noticed until a passerby saw a swastika in orange paint on the front steps Wednesday. Also vandalized was the door of the temple with a swastika and the words “Black Shirt.”
“Black Shirt” in this case does not have any connection to football, according to Temple Administrator Pete Mullin. “[Black Shirt] would be tied to both British and Italian Fascist movements in the 30’s and 40’s,” said Mullin. “And there’s probably other connotations with more modern white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups.”
Mullin told KFOR News the graffiti has been covered up and calls have been made for people to help cleanup and removal.
This is the first incident of its kind in Lincoln, but lately there has been a nationwide trend of attacks on places of worship. “In the climate that we’re in right now, I’m almost surprised it hasn’t happened sooner,” said Mullin. “But we’ve got a good security system, we’ve got a good police department in town, and they’re helping us.”
Mullin added that there was a single silver lining to come out the incident. “A bright spot is that we needed to get them refinished anyway,” said Mullin about the door and steps.
Anyone in the area who has suffered similar vandalism of orange paint should call Lincoln Police at 402-441-6000 to make a report, or call Crime Stoppers at 402-475-3600.
UPDATE: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemned the vandalism on Thursday.
CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ayan Ajeen said “We condemn this act of anti-Semitic hate and stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in Nebraska and around the country. Americans of all faiths and backgrounds must stand with minority communities that are increasingly the targets of bigotry and violence.”
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
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