Fairfax County police are investigating the vandalism of two Annandale churches.
A Fairfax County Police Department press release indicates someone spray-painted anti-Semitic symbols and words onto the side of the Little River United Church of Christ and signs that had been placed outside of it between 1 – 4 a.m. on Tuesday.
David Lindsey, senior pastor at Little River United Church of Christ, told WAMU some of the messages were anti-LGBT. He also said one of them read, “Defend America, no Muslims, no traitors.”
Lindsey told WAMU there is “so much hateful rhetoric in the public sphere right now and there seems to be a certain freedom to indulge in these kinds of crimes.”
The staff of the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, which is less than two miles from Little River United Church of Christ, on Tuesday also found swastikas and anti-Semitic messages spray-painted onto the side of its building. Fairfax County police say the vandalism also took place between 1 – 4 a.m. on Tuesday.
A Fairfax County Police Department spokesperson told the Blade on Wednesday that police are “actively investigating” the two incidents that took place hours after Passover began.
“I am disturbed to hear of the vandalism and hateful attacks that took place at the Jewish Community Center in Fairfax while many of our brothers and sisters were enjoying Seder and celebrating Passover last night,” said Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam on Tuesday in a statement. “We must not sit idly by when any community in the commonwealth is targeted by threatening acts intended to incite terror.”
“No Virginian should live in fear because of who they are or who they worship,” he added. “As your lieutenant governor and in the years to come, I will continue to do everything I can to keep Virginians of all faiths and backgrounds safe.”
The vandalism took place less than a day before White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sparked outrage when he incorrectly said Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons during World War II.