The Ellises, an Arizona Jewish family, were shocked to discover over the holidays that a large homemade menorah on their lawn had been vandalized and reshaped into a swastika.
Naomi Ellis called the police before dawn and pleaded with them to help her take the swastika down before her children woke up and saw it.
"We were just VICTIMIZED by a HATE CRIME," Ellis posted on her Facebook profile.
"Last night my home was victimized by HATE. Instead of waking up to see our lighted Hanukkah menorah display on our front lawn, there was a swastika. My husband built the menorah to celebrate the Hanukkah holiday after our kids (3 boys 9, 7, 5) asked for their own holiday lights for the season. We live in a great neighborhood with kind and welcoming neighbors. We never would have imagined that someone would spread so much hate here. However, this morning we were greeted with this horrible act of aggression. Our menorah was destroyed and altered to resemble a swastika. This clear act of hate and racism is disturbing and sad. I broke down in tears waiting for the police to come and hoping that my kids would not be awake to see it. The officer helped me take it down, before they woke-up. I’m still not sure how I will explain this to them. I’m not sure I quite understand it myself, nor have I ever understood racism or prejudice in any form. How can people can be filled with so much hate and violence? To think that someone would make such an effort to hurt and vandalize a family, is downright sickening. If you or anyone you know has any information that may help the police, please share and contact Chandler Police in response to 16-148624," she added.
Support poured in on social media:
But the ugly side of the situation was also evident:
The local director of the Anti-Defamation League, Carlos Galindo-Elvira, told the newspaper that there has been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the area in recent weeks, including confrontations with Jewish children at school and swastikas on cakes, in addition to the menorah vandalism.
Unfortunately, instances of hate crime and intolerance, like attacks on women in Islamic head scarves, racist graffiti and stories about bullying of immigrant children, indicate a backlash against U.S. minorities from white supremacist Donald Trump supporters after his presidential win.
Soon after the election results were announced, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a leading Muslim civil rights group, said it was monitoring reports of several incidents targeting Muslims in the United States since the election and called on Trump to denounce the attacks.
“It’s the inevitable result of the mainstreaming of Islamophobia we’ve seen in recent months with the presidential campaign,” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.
"Unfortunately, it really is up to Donald Trump to repudiate this kind of bigotry.”
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