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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jewish community center and church attacked with racist, Anti-Semitic graffiti

Defaced signs in front of Little River United Church of Christ in Annandale. [Josh Byrd] 
Two religious institutions in the Annandale area were hit with racist and antisemitic graffiti during the night.

The Fairfax County Police Department received a call at 7:13 a.m. about “racially biased graffiti, slurs, and possibly symbols,” at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, at 8900 Little River Turnpike in Fairfax, said FCPD spokesperson Tawny Wright.

FCPD then received a similar call at 8:50 a.m. from the Little River United Church of Christ at 8410 Little River Turnpike, Annandale. That church is known as an open and welcoming place for the LGBTQ community.

Police officers  have been on the scene for hours. “Obviously we take this seriously,” Wright said. The attack at the JCCNV occurred between 1 and 4 p.m. Swastikas and derogatory slogans were spray painted on the building, marquee, and fence. The building had security cameras, and the police are reviewing the footage, she said.

JCCNV Executive Director Jeff Dannick said it was especially distressing that it happened during the Passover holiday, which celebrates the Jews’ exodus from Egypt in ancient times. The graffiti has been covered up so no one has to see it and it will be removed as quickly as possible, he said. It was all done outside; no one got inside the building.

“During Passover, when the Jewish community around the world is celebrating a time of freedom for our people as well as those who are affected by hate today, a crime like this heightens the reason that organizations like our own exist to bring communities together through messages and actions of peace, acceptance, and inclusion,” reads a statement from Dannick and JCCNV board president Scott Brown.

“We are disheartened and deeply disturbed by the anti-Semitism our community has experienced today. We will not be deterred from our mission of being an open and welcoming place for people of all backgrounds as we continue our operations as normal,” the statement continues. “We are grateful to the local and federal law enforcement officials who are working to identify and bring to justice the person or persons who committed this crime. As always, our communitys safety will be our priority as we remain committed to fulfilling our daily mission as a community center.”

As word about the vandalism spread, Dannick received calls from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Attorney General Mark Herring, Sen. Mark Warner, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, other elected officials, and Fairfax Police Chief Edwin Roessler.

The Little River United Church of Christ sent out an alert informing its members that “hateful language and imagery – including swastikas – were spray-painted in various locations around our campus.” It says “at least one additional church” was vandalized, as well as the JCC.

“The church staff and the trustees are hard at work today figuring out how best to handle this situation,” the alert states. “For now, prayers and good thoughts are most definitely welcome.”

If a suspect is caught, the charge would be destruction of property. The fact that it was a hate crime would increase the penalty.

Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to contact the police, 703-691-2131.

This story was updated at 5:22 p.m.

5 comments:

  1. No place for this in Mason, Fairfax, VA, US, World.

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  2. There is a link on the bottom of their web page that takes you to where you can donate, if you want.. http://www.lrucc.org/

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  3. This is terrible, but given the crap that has been moving into Mason I am not surprised.

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  4. Did you really think anyone but a lily-white Neo-Nazi homophobe would have done this?

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  5. The assailant is a 20 yr old white male. Awful & very sad. :(

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