Seattle, Wash. — Spiritual centers are on high alert after several have fallen victim to vandals in the Pacific Northwest. A spiritual center in Beacon Hill just cleaned up swastikas scribbled on their walls Wednesday. Last week, someone set a mosque on fire in West Seattle and in Portland, Oregon, vandals left swastikas at a synagogue.
While investigators aren’t saying the crimes are connected, one community is coming together to fight against what they’re calling acts of hate.
Despite the hugs and smiles shared at the Amor spiritual center in Beacon Hill Sunday, the center’s spiritual leader Allen Mosley isn’t just preaching love but addressing hate.
It’s a message of hate members and the neighborhood saw first-hand Wednesday morning when vandals spray painted left facing swastikas and the words hate on the center’s exterior.
“A simple broken window is one thing, but when you have the symbolism seen here it adds a different spin to the motivation,” said Seattle Police Officer Jim Ritter, who also serves as the department’s community outreach liaison.
But the Beacon Hill community is fighting back through a community event where people formed a circle of solidarity.
“This was extra hurtful in that this community organization was a safe place location,” said Ritter to dozens of people at the rally. “You know it takes an awful lot of energy to hate, and I have to find silver lining every time I go to an awful thing like this. The people that did this didn’t count on seeing this as a result of their hateful action.”
Leaders said as a result of the hate, they’re pleased just the opposite has happened.
“We’ve had more people stop by and say thank you and neighbors have been more alive and more welcome, more available than ever before,” said Mosley.
Investigators said this recent act of vandalism will be investigated as a hate crime. So far, no suspects have been identified in the case.