A refugee who came to the US seven years ago was shocked to come home and find his door smashed with an axe, his furniture slashed and racist graffiti all over the walls.
Hasel Afshar said he had experienced racism and xenophobia before, but nothing like this.
In his home in Troutdale, Oregon, the word “terrorist” was spray-painted across the kitchen cabinets.
The word “Muslim” was painted in red, dripping letters in the bedroom, and “die” was written across the mirror. Other phrases and graffiti were slashed across the television, the fridge and the coffee table. All the doors had been taken to with an axe.
The Iranian refugee told KPTV that he found a note, weighted down with seven bullets in the shape of a cross. It read, “If I see you here next month, I will shoot and burn your house.”
“The funny thing, I’m not Muslim,” Mr Afshar said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said he is Baha’i, a religion founded in 19th century Persia which focuses on prayer, reflection and serving humanity.
“I don’t want anything to happen to him, I just hope he [the vandal] grow[s] up and don’t hate people.”
“You can hate me, that's your problem, but we can go and sit and talk about it, why you hate me, and maybe you just change your mind,” he told the news channel.
Mr Afshar said he was “really scared” but added that he would like to talk to the vandals about why they broke into and ransacked his home.
The vandal was speculated to have climbed through the bathroom window.
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office has launched an investigation of a potential bias crime, and has not released information of any suspects. It has notified the FBI.
Mr Afshar told the news outlet that he already been considering leaving the country after other people had shouted at him and allegedly pointed a gun in his face, and the recent vandalism has further convinced him to leave.
The FBI reported a 67 per cent increase in hate crimes against Muslims in 2015, and CAIR is set to release a report which shows a record number of hate crimes against the same community in 2016.
As of mid-March, there were 32 incidents against mosques, CAIR said, compared to 16 last year.
Acts of vandalism inside people’s homes are less frequent, but last year saw violent incidents including two Muslim teenagers in Brooklyn who were badly beaten, the fatal stabbing of a Muslim woman in Queens and the shooting of a Muslim doctor in Texas.
CAIR reported there had also been an increase of people who were wrongly identified as Muslim and were targeted as a result.
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