San Antonio news outlets are reporting that two area churches were defaced by vandals. Identical graffiti on the structures reads: ‘No to wall’ and “Islam or Die” with an unknown symbol stenciled beneath.
These incidents purportedly occurred in San Antonio on Monday at Gethsemane Lutheran Church and Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church. On both, black spray painted messages read in capitalized letters: “No to wall” and “Islam or Die,” along with an unidentified image, according to KABB. The TV news outlet said the defacement was done by an unknown suspect.
— Tyler White (@tylerlwhite) October 10, 2016
The San Antonio Express-News reported the unidentified image as a “stenciled symbol of some kind, although it’s unclear what the symbol means.” Gethsemane Lutheran Church Pastor Eric Miletti told the San Antonio newspaper he was disappointed that someone vandalized his church. Miletti has served as pastor for the past two years.
“This is something else, said Miletti. “They did put some time into this.” The news publication reported the pastor said the graffiti could be “a response to views by presidential candidate Donald Trump” and also indicated Miletti said he was “unsure if the tagging has anything to do with views expressed by Trump.” As part of his presidential bid, Trump has proposed to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall. The article included no speculation as to the possible reason why someone would spray paint “Islam or Die” on the church. Miletti told the San Antonio newspaper: “We need to pray for peace, we need to talk about peace, and we need to help everyone.”
According to the Express-News, Miletti said a church member first noticed the desecration to the church’s front wall Monday morning while tending to a pumpkin patch the church sponsored. The pastor said he contacted law enforcement and filed a police report.
The alleged vandalism at Gethsemane Lutheran Church occurred on the brickwork near the main entrance. “I didn’t understand what the wall had to do with the ‘Islam or Die,” said church member Anthony Boulan, who saw the graffiti and spoke to KABB, saying: “But evidently whoever put it there had some kind of statement to make.” Boulan noted: “When I actually read what it said, it kinda hurt, you know?”
Also according to KABB, the tagging was removed from both churches and San Antonio police continue to investigate the purported acts of vandalism.
Last year, two Jewish synagogues in San Antonio were attacked by vandals. Breitbart Texas reported one of the targeted houses of worship, Congregation Rodfei Shalom, was desecrated by a variety of ethnic slurs, “KKK,” curse words, and swastikas spray painted on the property. Additionally, approximately 30 houses, city structures, and vehicles in the surrounding neighborhood were also similarly tagged and defaced by other acts of vandalism. Days later, vandals hit the nearby Congregation Agudas Achim. At the time, Governor Greg Abbott said, as part of a written statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, “Religious discrimination has no place in the State of Texas and I have faith that law enforcement spearheading this investigation will redouble their efforts to swiftly bring those responsible to justice.”
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