- Vandals spray-painted graffiti at two mosques in the Southern California city of Hawthorne and left a device that looked like a hand grenade in the driveway of one of the mosques yesterday, prompting police to investigate both incidents as a hate crime.
A bomb squad was called, and the area around the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Baitus-Salaam Mosque was evacuated after the device was discovered around 6:30 a.m., police said in a statement. Investigators determined the device was a plastic replica of a hand grenade. The word "Jesus" was sprayed in white paint on the mosque's fence.
Police received another call that the phrase "Jesus is the way" was spray-painted in front of the Islamic Center of Hawthorne.
Police and the FBI were investigating the vandalism, which appeared to have occurred overnight, as hate crimes.
On Friday, a mosque in Palm Springs was damaged in a fire that authorities said was intentionally set. They arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the fire and booked him for investigation of commission of a hate crime, arson, maliciously setting a fire and burglary.
The fire at the Islamic Center of Palm Springs was contained to the small building's front lobby, and no one was injured.