Ignorant people with spray paint and matches cannot destroy a society built on the principle of equality.

And yet they try.

On July 6, the Sarasota County home of a Bosnian family of five was set afire. Painted in red on the floor of were the words “Kill All Arabs.”

On July 16, vandals painted swastikas, the words “white power” and other hate-filled messages on the new home of a North Port family.

Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies must find and prosecute those who committed the crimes.

Emotional harm and property damage were inflicted on the two families.

Also, Sarasota County and North Port had their images marred by the hate crimes.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations offered a $10,000 reward Friday for information about the arson that destroyed the Avila Avenue home of Hasib Sejfovic, his wife and three children. The family moved from Bosnia in 2001.

“These people aren’t even Arab,” Ahmed Bedier, the organization’s executive director told Latisha Gray, a Herald-Tribune reporter. “That shows how smart the people are who did this.”

Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday wrote the council, “I am saddened by any incident of hate targeting Floridians of the Muslim faith. We will not tolerate such acts. We are an open society, and one that takes great pleasure in our diverse communities of faith.”

In North Port, the racist messages were spray-painted on the home of John Rodriquez, Montique Boykin and their children.

City police also recently found racist graffiti on a bridge.

“Typically, it’s just juveniles, more so than an organized hate group,” Police Chief Terry Lewis told Herald-Tribune reporter John Davis. “When it’s someone’s home, we take it more personal.”

As a community, we all should.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.