Hate crime suspect arrested in vandalism of Los Angeles mosque

by | Apr 11, 2023 | Religion

LOS ANGELES (RNS) — The Los Angeles Police Department arrested a man on suspicion of vandalizing a mosque in LA’s Koreatown.Surveillance video captured a man early Easter Sunday writing “anti-Islamic hate words” with a permanent marker on the outside pillars of the Islamic Center of Southern California. News photos show the mosque defaced with the words “222 FREEDOM USA” and “King 222 did this!”
Los Angeles police on Tuesday (April 11) identified the suspect as 43-year-old Carlos Moran, who is unhoused in the LA area. Chief Michel Moore, who described the writings as motivated by hate, said the suspect “claimed he was a king and appeared to be struggling with mental health issues,” according to the Los Angeles Times. 
News of the arrest comes a day after LA law enforcement and interfaith leaders came together at a news conference on Monday to condemn the vandalism that Omar Ricci, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California, referred to as “an act of hate.”
The incident has pained the community, especially because it occurred during Ramadan, the holiest time of the year for Muslims, Ricci said.
Ricci noted the stabbing of an imam who was leading his congregation in prayer at a New Jersey mosque on Sunday, as well as the attack on worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City.
But, Ricci said, “the attack was not just on this center or what’s happening in other parts of the world or the country, it’s an attack on our city as a whole.”
At the news conference, Moore pointed to the rise of hate crimes in the region since the beginning of the COVID …

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