Mosque in Israel defaced by anti-Muslim graffiti
Local officials decry attack as 'despicable' and 'racist,' urge police to crack down on 'price tag' attacks.
A mosque in the Israeli Arab town of Baqa Al-Gharbiyye was defaced before dawn on Sunday, and windows were shattered on several cars parked nearby.
The mosque was scrawled with graffiti declaring "Mohammed is a pig," “mutual responsibility,” and “regards from Boaz and David Chai”, referring to two settlers against whom travel restrictions had been imposed by the commander of the Israel Defense Force's Central Command.
Baqa Al-Gahrbiyyeh Mayor Mursi Al Muh called the vandalism “a detestable act, a crime we cannot ignore”.
The mosque’s imam, Sheikh Khiri Askander, who is affiliated with the Islamic Movement, denounced the perpetrators as "clearly racists who have grown accustomed to committing such acts, since no one is deterring them. We’ve heard of dozens of such cases on both sides of the Green Line, and there have been no arrests or prosecutions.”
The imam was referring to the so-called "price tag attacks," carried out by extreme right-wing activists as revenge against the Israeli government's policies on West Bank settlements.
Askander and other municipal officials said that they expect the many surveillance cameras set up around the mosque to assist the police in finding the perpetrators.
Israeli Arab members of Knesset came to the town on Sunday morning and said that they had appealed to defense minister and to the chief of police, demanding that the perpetrators be apprehended. They criticized the police for their failure to respond to "price tag" attacks within Israel.
The police responded by stating that a unit in the nearby town of Iron has already begun investigating. “The Israel Police view this case gravely, and will use all avenues and means at its disposal to locate, apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators”, said the head of Iron station, Commander Motti Harbi. “We won’t allow incidents such as these to harm the delicate relations in the area.”