The Board of Trustees of St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of San Francisco say a community center adjacent to the church was set on fire by arsonists early Thursday morning.
“The building housed Vasbouragan Hall, as well as offices for St. Gregory Armenian Church and various organizations. The San Francisco Fire Department responded immediately, however, the building has suffered a great loss,” board of trustee members said in a statement.
Disturbing news that a fire started in the early morning hours at the San Francisco St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church Center.
We express our appreciation to the San Francisco Fire Department and our deep concern for the safety of our fellow community members. pic.twitter.com/tBfCG2kYjd
— Armenian Assembly (@ARAMAC_DC) September 17, 2020
They burned down our church hall last night. It’s happening again. The San Francisco Armenian community is under attack. pic.twitter.com/c0bFTq3bsI
— Basturma Jones (@serooj255) September 17, 2020
This is where we’d hang out and sleep on trips to San Francisco. This is where our youth and community organizations are housed. This is where our church is. This is an attack against Armenians.
I don’t have inspiring words, just rage. Everyone will be brought to justice. pic.twitter.com/lP2r2n5hoo
— Gev Iskajyan (@geviskajyan) September 17, 2020
“The Church Board of Trustees and community leaders are on site assessing the damage and working closely with San Francisco Fire and Police Departments in their investigation. We will provide more updates to the community as they become available,” the statement added.
Asbarez News reports:
Armenian community officials said that the fire was set to church Sunday School classrooms, the church office and the Hamazkayin Library.
This follows an attack on the Krouzian-Zekarian Vasbouragan Armenian School and the adjacent community center in July. The exterior of the building was spray painted with anti-Armenian, pro-Azerbaijani graffiti.
The center houses the offices of the ARF “Kristapor” chapter, the ANCA-San Francisco, the local Homenetmen, ARS, Hamazkayin and AYF chapters.
San Francisco’s district attorney Chesa Boudin, one of the country’s most leftwing prosecutors, took to social media to condemn the suspected arson.
“This is an outrage,” Boudin wrote on Twitter. “The Armenian community of San Francisco woke up today to an arson at their church. There is no room for this cowardly, hateful, criminal conduct in San Francisco.”
“We stand with the Armenian community against hate!” he added.
The San Francisco Police Department has yet to comment on the matter.