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Bacon strips and broken windows at Davis Islamic Center investigated as hate crime

Authorities have launched a hate crime investigation after a woman shattered half a dozen windows and placed strips of bacon on a door handle of a Davis, Calif., mosque.

The vandalism was discovered on Sunday at the Islamic Center of Davis in the 500 block of Russell Boulevard, according to the Davis Police Department.

The woman used a device to smash six window panes on the outside of the building and destroy two bicycles, police said. The suspect also placed strips of uncooked bacon on the handle of a door.

Muslims are prohibited from eating pork products, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Sacramento Valley chapter.

The council said “bigots often use pigs or pork to offend Muslim sensibilities.”

Surveillance video, according to the council, shows the woman placing the bacon on the door handle. Photographs on the council’s Facebook page show bacon resting across the handle. Police said the vandalism occurred between 3:45 and 4 a.m.

The council chapter has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. The chapter’s executive director Basim Elkarra is also calling on the FBI to investigate the incident.

“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,” Elkarra said in a statement. “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.”

According to U.S. Department of Justice hate crime statistics, reports of anti-Muslim crimes have increased 9.5 percentage points from 2010 to 2015. Of the 1,354 religious hate crimes reported to the FBI in 2015 — the most recent year of reporting available — just over 22% targeted Muslims. The majority of religiously motivated hate crimes that year, or just over 51%, were described as being anti-Jewish.  

The suspect in the Davis mosque incident was described as a white female, between 25 and 35 years old, 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 160 to 180 pounds. She has red and brown wavy hair. The woman was last seen wearing beige high-top shoes, gray or blue tight-fitting pants, an off-white vest and shirt with a unknown logo. She also wore a black hat with a unknown logo.

Anyone with details about the vandalism is urged to call police department at (530) 747-5400. 

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

11:35 a.m.: This article was updated with national hate crime statistics.

This article was originally published at 9:35 a.m.

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