ROSEVILLE (KRON) — A Muslim institute was the target of what is being investigated as a hate crime.
Tarbiya Institute, in northeast Sacramento, was spray-painted with a dozen obscene and racist slurs sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
“This is not an assault on a mosque, it is not an assault on the Muslim community … this is an assault on our entire community right here in the Sacramento area, and all of us need to stand together and say that we will not stand for this behavior,” said Imam Mohamed Abdul-Azeez of the Tarbiya Institute.
The institute provides spiritual and educational services to 300 members of the Muslim community, according to Abdul-Azeez.
Tarbiya has only been open for six months, said Abdul-Azeez, but the institute has received of an outpouring of love and support since the inauguration of President Trump.
Abdul-Azeez does not believe this is a reflection on the Roseville community, rather the result of hate speech on a much larger scale.
“This incident is not an isolated incident. It’s very minor. It’s very small,” Abdul-Azeez said. “There’s some graffiti on the wall, but it’s a microcosm of other bigger events that happen around the country. I think that is reflective of a sinister spirit that has been perpetuated by people in power in this country, and we as a community need to stand up against that.”
A Roseville police spokesperson said the vandalism is being investigated as a hate crime and is being taken very seriously saying, “this is not acceptable in our community.”
Police are working on finding witnesses, surveillance video and any physical evidence. They are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person or people responsible.
“Quite frankly, we’ve never had an incident like that there or recently at any other houses of worship here in Roseville,” Assistant Police Chief James MaCcoun said.
Basim Elkarra, the executive director of the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, issued this statement:
“Just as we have been disturbed by the rising number of hate incidents targeting Muslims in California and nationwide, 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.”
There is a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the vandalism.
This is the second incident being investigated as a hate crime in Northern California in less than two weeks.
In January, a woman shattered the windows of a mosque in Davis and placed strips of uncooked bacon on a door handle.
That event is being considered a hate crime because Muslims are prohibited from eating pork products, according to Davis Police.