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STAINS ON A COMMUNITY

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    Hate mars homes -- and the images of Sarasota County, North Port STAINS ON A COMMUNITY Herald-Tribune 7/24/07
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2007
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      Hate mars homes -- and the images of Sarasota County, North Port


      STAINS ON A COMMUNITY
      Herald-Tribune
      7/24/07
      http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20070724/OPINION/707240659/1030


      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.

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