By Lauren Keene
An act of vandalism at the Davis Islamic Center early Sunday morning is being investigated as a hate crime, Davis police said Sunday.
“Officers found that an unidentified suspect had used an unknown type device to shatter six window panes on the building exterior,” Lt. Tom Waltz said in a news release. “The same suspect also placed strips of uncooked bacon on an exterior door handle and destroyed two bikes parked on the property.”
Pork is considered a forbidden food in the Muslim religion.
Surveillance video from the scene indicates the crime occurred between 3:45 and 4 a.m. Sunday, Waltz said.
The suspect is described as a white female between 25 and 35 years old, 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-8 and 160 to 180 pounds, with red or brown wavy hair. She was seen wearing beige hightop shoes, gray or blue tight fitting pants, an off-white vest, an unknown color shirt with an unknown logo, and a black hat with an unknown logo.
“The vandalism is being investigated as a hate crime by Davis police detectives,” Waltz said.
Anyone who may have information regarding this incident is asked to call the Davis Police Department at 530-747-5400.
The Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV) is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction 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,” CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra said. “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.”
The incident comes less than two months after the Davis Islamic Center — along with other Islamic Centers across the nation — received identical handwritten notes threatening genocide on American Muslims.
“There’s a new sheriff in town — President Donald Trump … He’s going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews,” said the letter, signed by “Americans for a Better Way.” Davis police classified it as a hate incident.
It prompted more than a dozen law-enforcement officials and other community leaders to gather and issue a joint statement denouncing the letter and pledging to fully investigate hate crimes in Yolo County.
“For those who commit crimes, we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will ask the district attorney to vigorously prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said. “You are not welcome in Davis if you spread hate.”
“We’re encouraging people to say something, if they see something,” District Attorney Jeff Reisig said. “Report it. We will act.”