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Desecrated Koran, pages of Muslim holy book left at Sacramento area mosques

Authorities are investigating possible hate crimes at two mosques in the Sacramento Valley during Ramadan over the weekend.

The first incident was reported Friday night at the Islamic Center of Davis, where someone driving by threw hundreds of pieces of paper with passages from a Koran, said Lt. Thomas Waltz, a spokesman for the Davis Police Department. It appeared that someone had photocopied pages from the Muslim holy book, he said.

Investigators reviewed surveillance camera footage in the area but have not been able to determine who is responsible for the incident, Waltz said.

The center had been participating in taraweeh prayers in the last days of Ramadan, according to the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

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The next day, in south Sacramento, a burned Koran filled with bacon was found outside the Masjid Annur Islamic Center in the 6900 block of 65th Street, according to Sgt. Tony Turnbull, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

The Koran was hanging by a handcuff on a fence between a sheriff’s station and the mosque, Turnbull said in a statement.

The Islamic center is the largest mosque in the greater Sacramento area, authorities said. The mosque “has been a neighbor to the Sheriff’s Department Central Area Station for many years,” the sergeant said.

Turnbull said the crime does not appear to be connected to the Davis incident.

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“We thank all the officers involved in these investigations for their prompt and professional actions in responding to these troubling incidents,” Basim Elkarra, the Sacramento Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter’s executive director, said in a statement. “Decisive action by law enforcement authorities sends a strong message of deterrence to anyone who contemplates turning their bigoted views into acts of intimidation.”

This is the second hate-related incident at the Davis mosque, at 539 Russell Blvd., this year. In January, authorities found broken windows and two vandalized bicycles there. Davis police said bacon also had been wrapped on a door handle.

Lauren Kirk-Coehlo, 30, of Davis was arrested in connection with the Davis incident. She eventually pleaded guilty to vandalism and a hate crime.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Twitter: VeronicaRochaLA


UPDATES:

June 27, 11:20 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details from Davis police Lt. Thomas Waltz.

This article was originally published at 9:50 a.m. June 26.

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