Chicago area churches, mosque vandalized

Greek-church-mosque-vandalizedBy Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune

Nearly a dozen houses of worship in Gurnee and Waukegan have been vandalized over the past week, with an obscene "hateful message" scrawled in red on at least two buildings, officials announced Wednesday.

Police are asking the public for help identifying a young man caught on videotape in connection with their investigation, authorities stated in a joint news release.

Numerous religious institutions of various faiths "were graffiti'ed with hate crime literature," Waukegan Mayor Wayne Motley said during a news conference organized by leaders of a church and mosque that were targeted.

"Our entire (police) bureau is working on this case," Motley said. "We do have leads and clues we are pursuing at this minute."

St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Christian Church and the Islamic Foundation North -- less than a mile away from each other on O'Plaine Road in Waukegan -- reported finding the same spray-painted message near the entry way to their building early Monday. ...

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, based in Washington, D.C., followed the news Wednesday and posted the information online.
"It sounds like you have an equal opportunity bigot," Hooper said. "It happens all too often. It's not just mosques, as we see in this incidence."

Authorities don't always treat such acts of vandalism as serious, Hooper said.

"They'll often say it's just drunken teenagers," he said. "Well, drunken teenagers can have a hate motive. It looks like in this case they are taking it very seriously and acting appropriately."(Read more)