Two identical acts of vandalism committed this month at a Dearborn church have some community groups calling for more support of local houses of worship.
According to a Dearborn police report, two stained glass windows were reportedly broken at the Mother of the Savior Lutheran Church between 11 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Sunday. The damage was apparently done by throwing nearby crab apples at the windows.
It is the second such act of destruction of property at the church this month, according to the Rev. Rani Abdulmasih.
The church is located on Altar Road, along a string of several houses of worship–including theIslamic Center of America and the St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church.
The act of vandalism, though not currently being investigated as an act of hate, comes on the heels of multiple acts of violence and vandalism at houses of worship throughout the country–including reports of arson and vandalism at several mosques in Missouri, Michigan and Oklahoma, as well as the shooting earlier this month at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
According to the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Michigan, the Rev. Abdulmasih said that his congregation has experienced prejudice.
“As a Christian Arab and Middle Eastern congregation, we have sensed the profiling in more ways than one," he wrote in an email to ADC. "It is unfortunate that racial profiling, bigotry, and racism continues to exist and flourish in our beloved country, as we live under a constitution that supports freedom, justice and equality for all.”
ADC Michigan issued a statement Monday calling on communities to stand together against attacks on places meant for worship and peace.
“An attack on any place of worship of any faith is an attack against all,” Imad Hamad, ADC Michigan regional director and senior national adviser, said in a statement. “These acts of hate or ignorance should not be tolerated under any circumstances and go against our true American values.”
Council for American Islamic Relations' Michigan Director Dawud Walid echoed the sentiment, and called on the Rev. Abdulmasih to join him in organizing a stand against intolerance at the Dearborn church.
CAIR has been heavily involved with tracking crime at places of worship throughout the country, and has developed a "Muslim Community Safety Kit" for both mosques and individual Muslims.
Hassan Jaber, executive director of the Dearborn community service nonprofit ACCESS, commented that the vandalism, even if it is random, comes "at a time of heightened tension in our community and our nation."
"It’s especially important at times such as this to draw on the strength of our communities to stand together and to stand strong against hatred and violence," he added in a statement, "to counter vigilantism with rule of law; and to place our faith in the fundamental principles of liberty and justice on which this nation was founded."