A man suspected of burning down a Texas mosque believed its worshippers were terrorists and may have been looking for other mosques to target, authorities alleged during a hearing pertaining to an unrelated case against the man.
Marq Vincent Perez, 25, hasn’t been charged in the Jan. 28 fire that destroyed the Islamic center in his hometown of Victoria, a community about 125 miles southwest of Houston.
Perez was arrested last week on a charge alleging he tried to set fire to a former friend’s car earlier in January, and during a hearing on March 9, prosecutors presented evidence that Perez was suspected in the fire and an earlier burglary of the mosque in arguing that he be denied bond.
Although prosecutors have repeatedly declined to describe the burning of the mosque as a hate crime, U.S. Magistrate Judge B. Janice Ellington cited testimony about Perez’s “involvement in a hate crime presently being investigated” as a reason for denying him bond.
A man in Salem, Oregon, allegedly spewed epithets while beating an employee of Al Aqsa Fine Middle Eastern Cuisine with a pipe.
Until Tuesday afternoon, Al Aqsa Fine Middle Eastern Cuisine had scarcely received a negative Yelp review, let alone comparisons of its staff to Saddam Hussein. That was, until an area man allegedly burst into the beloved Salem, Washington, restaurant and began striking an employee with a pipe while spewing racial epithets.
Salem police have arrested Jason Kendall, 52, in what they describe as a potential hate crime. Kendall was not a customer at the time of the attack, but allegedly charged the restaurant when he spotted an employee who appeared to be Middle Eastern in the window. After allegedly hurling an “evil totem” at the employee, Kendall accused him of having a weapon and beat him in the head with a pipe while calling the employee a terrorist, police say.
Al Aqsa is a small, family-run restaurant on a tree-lined street near the city center. But when Kendall walked by the restaurant on what he described as a “warrior’s path,” he saw malice behind its windows, a probable cause affidavit obtained by Salem’s Statesman Journal alleges.
WASHINGTON — Hate crimes, including attacks against American Jews and Muslims, spiked in several key U.S. cities in 2016, underscoring an upsurge that started during the presidential campaign and has continued unabated, according to data collected by researchers at California State University, San Bernardino.
Previously unpublished data by the university’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism show that hate crimes in at least six major urban centers, including New York City, Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, registered double-digit increases last year.
New York City notched an uptick of 24 percent in hate crimes, the highest in over a decade.
New York state had an increase of 20 percent.
Chicago saw a rise of 24 percent, the highest since at least 2010.
Cincinnati, Ohio, saw hate crimes jump by 38 percent.
Columbus, Ohio, reported an increase of nearly 10 percent.
Montgomery County in Maryland, adjacent to the nation’s capital, had an increase of more than 42 percent.
Seattle, Washington, registered an increase of 6 percent in malicious harassment.
While this is preliminary data, based on information provided by state and local law enforcement and government agencies, the findings represent an initial glimpse into trends in hate crimes in 2016.
Before the elections, we were told that our fears of a Trump presidency were unfounded, that we were overreacting, and should have faith in humanity. But in recent days, less than two months after the election, we hear stories daily that are horrifying and heartbreaking. We hear stories of Latino boys and girls terrified of going to school out of fear that they’ll be separated from their families. We hear stories of Muslim parents begging their daughters not to wear hijab in public for fear for their lives.
We hear similar stories of Jewish, African American, Indian, and LGBTQ adults and children not only afraid of bullying or harassment, but of losing their lives or their parents. This, we can all agree, is both enraging and heartbreaking. These fears are not unfounded. All of a sudden, we seem to hear about more hate crimes being perpetrated against various groups and communities. So the question remains, are there more hate crimes being perpetrated? Or are we just being more sensitive to isolated incidents and feeling insecure about the current political climate?
Police in Davis are investigating another hate incident targeting the city’s Muslim community.
The UC Davis Police Department says that overnight Friday into Saturday, someone left a package of pork tenderloins on the doorstep of an apartment on Orchard Park Drive, off of Russell Boulevard.
Officers say the residents of the apartment are Muslim. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime because of pork being a prohibited food for people of the Muslim faith.
No suspects have been identified so far, police say.
The incident comes after a series of hate crimes against Muslims around the area. In January, a woman was caught on camera smashing the windows at the Islamic Center of Davis. She also left bacon on a door handle. She has not been identified, but authorities did raid a home last week connected to the investigation.
Earlier in February, a Roseville Islamic center was the target of vandals. Much of the building was left defaced with hate speech aimed at Muslims. No suspects have been identified in this incident either.