Hate Incident, Hate Crime Occur On Campus in Previous Week

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A hate incident and separate hate crime occurred on the UC Berkeley campus last week, raising concerns about racism among members of the campus community.

In the hate incident, six stickers - some of them "anti-Muslim" and one "pro-Israel," according to UCPD Lt. Alex Yao - were placed on the display board for the student group Students for Justice in Palestine sometime before 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 5, according to SJP member Luma Hadad.

The wooden display board was propped up on Sather Gate Bridge alongside many others advertising student groups. The defacement occurred a day before an SJP-sponsored event, during which peace activists from the Gaza Freedom Flotilla spoke on campus.

According to members of SJP, four stickers read "Fight Islamic Extremism," while another read "Israel Celebrating 62 Years: If You Will It It Is No Dream" and the last read "Making The World a Better Place" above the faces of Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, all with shooting targets drawn over them.

The stickers were removed by an SJP member Oct. 6 before UCPD officers could see them, SJP member Nairi Shirinian said.

According to Yao, the board's defacement is currently classified as a hate incident rather than a hate crime because vandalism must inflict lasting damage to be considered a crime.

Also, at 5:12 p.m. on Oct. 7 - the national day of action for public education - graffiti in Dwinelle Hall was reported to UCPD in what has been classified as a hate crime.

The phrase "No Mexicans" was written on the wall near room 142 of Dwinelle, while "No Mexicans Please" was also found on the wall of the stairwell just south of that room. Both phrases were written in black marker in letters about two inches tall and appeared to have been written by the same suspect, Yao said.

UCPD is currently investigating both incidents, Yao said.

According to Kifah Shah, assistant director of the campus Multicultural Center, hate crimes and incidents - especially those targeting Muslim and Arab students in the UC system - are somewhat common and are all too often "discounted by the administration (and) ... viewed as isolated incidents rather than part of a larger problem of racism."


Contact Noor Al-Samarrai at [email protected]

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