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City of Brass

A good gauge of the success of President Obama’s Cairo speech is what sort of people hated it. Al Qaeda was freaked out, as were the Islamophobe industry here in the US (and that’s not the first time, nor the last, that those two groups are on the same wavelength). The speech certainly drove fear into the heart of anyone with hate and prejudice in their heart against muslims and Islam. case in point – in the wee hours of the morning Thursday, a mosque in southern California was vandalized:

A Southern California mosque was vandalized with graffiti including expletives and threats early Thursday, shortly after President Barack Obama’s address in Egypt to the Muslim world.

A police officer on patrol at 4 a.m. spotted the hate messages painted on the front wall of the Islamic Center of Cypress, said Sgt. Tom Bruce. The paint was still wet, he said.

Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, said the graffiti was about 4 feet or 5 feet tall and spread over up to 30 feet of the wall.

In an e-mail to Muslim-American community leaders, Kennedy reported that the graffiti read in part: “We will kill you all” and “U.S. military is going to kill you all.”

Police said there were no witnesses and the incident was not caught on surveillance video.

The graffiti was quickly removed or covered over. By afternoon, a patch of fresh white paint covered a large area on the single-story, stucco building, which faces a Korean Lutheran church and strip mall on a busy residential street.

A handful of men gathered in the mosque’s office and several prayed quietly.

Kennedy said it was likely the graffiti was prompted by Obama’s outreach to the Middle East. The vandalism occurred about an hour after Obama’s speech at Cairo University in Egypt aired live on the West Coast.

“I think that in the realm of hate crime you see there is often a reactionary element to it, so the Obama initiative … may very well have been what triggered this hate crime,” he said.

The mosque’s imam was less willing to blame Obama’s speech, but as with the case of the Obsession DVD mailing/Ohio mosque attack prior to the election last November, it’s reasonably certain that the speech was the causal factor (unless the level of hate for muslims is so high that these things happen spontaneously, something I’m reluctant to accept).

This sort of thing is exactly why I have argued that muslim and jewish civil rights group should coordinate to keep track of hate crimes against both communities. Its a common problem that requires a joint approach.

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