University of Utah police are investigating a possible hate crime after an act of on-campus vandalism. They’re looking for the person who defaced seven posters inside Orson Spencer Hall. “It’s disheartening is what it is,” said U. spokeswoman Maria O’Mara. “It’s incredibly disappointing.”
Funny this would happen in Utah, where the large population of Mormons have a lot in common with Muslims.
KSL On Friday, someone defaced seven posters advertising a lecture put on by the Hinckley Institute of Politics, O’Mara said. “We had a visiting professor from Duke University who was here to speak about Islamophobia,” she said.
The event was meant to promote peace between America and Islamic nations, but the words scrawled over the top of the posters only promoted hate. The vandal wrote “Islam means death to the west” on several of the posters, and expletives on others.
“This anonymous person with a marker does not reflect the University of Utah’s values,” O’Mara said. “Frankly, it doesn’t reflect American values of religious freedom and inclusivity and diversity. Those are the things that we care about here on campus.”
Still, Imam Muhammed Shoyab Mehtar, a religious leader with the Greater Islamic Society of Salt Lake, said bullying against Muslims is on the rise, especially in the past three months.
One Muslim girl wearing a headbag was told to “go back home,” he said. Another was shoved into a locker. And a male student at a local school has been repeatedly called a “terrorist” by another student, even after reporting the incident, according to Mehtar.
In another instance, a boy who recently returned from a trip to Pakistan was asked by a teacher whether he had met any members of al-Qaeda or relatives of Osama bin Laden, he said. (Tsk, tsk, she should have asked if he met with the Taliban)