Six grave stones were vandalised at a Jewish cemetery with a pro-Trump message hours before the US president’s final rally in Michigan.
Grand Rapids police said the six headstones at the Ahavas Israel Cemetery were sprayed with red paint, spelling out “TRUMP” and “MAGA”.
Sergeant John Wittkowski, a spokesperson for the city’s police department, said the vandalism appeared to be “relatively new”.
Police discovered the vandalism hours before Donald Trump appeared in Grand Rapids for his final rally on late Monday night (local time), ahead of the US election.
Police said there was no evidence at the scene and as of Tuesday morning there had been no arrests, nor do investigators have any suspects.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of Michigan, a leading anti-hate group, condemned the vandalism on Twitter.
“We are appalled by the reported desecration of grave stones at the Ahavas Israel Cemetery in Grand Rapids, MI,” a tweet read.
“We are in close touch with the Jewish community and Law Enforcement to investigate this vandalism.”
ADL Michigan’s regional director Carolyn Normandin had waited until confirmation the vandalism at the Jewish cemetery was an isolated incident before making the images public, the Jewish News reported.
“It’s hateful, but how do we verify intent, other than the fact that it’s in a Jewish cemetery?” Ms Normandin said.
“There were no anti-Jewish symbols, no swastikas, no anti-Jewish rhetoric. It was political in nature.”
“This is despicable, and should be condemned by every candidate for every office and from every party,” one person tweeted in response to ADL Michigan.
“If you do not stand against the desecration of grave sites – especially when the attack appears to be motivated by religious hatred – you are unworthy of serving in any office.”
While the message is clearly pro-Trump, some theorised the vandalism wasn’t committed by Trump supporters.
The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Tuesday for federal authorities to investigate the vandalism as a hate crime and said it was offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
“The sacred sites of people of faith must be protected from vandalism that is meant to spread fear and intimidation,” the Michigan chapter’s executive director, Dawud Walid, said in a statement.
We are appalled by the reported desecration of gravestones at the Ahavas Israel Cemetery in Grand Rapids, MI. We are in close touch with the Jewish community and Law Enforcement to investigate this vandalism. pic.twitter.com/mVeGrlsWxE
— ADL Michigan (@ADLMichigan) November 2, 2020
At Trump’s late and final rally in Grand Rapids he said he would win Michigan “so easily”.
“We made history four years ago and tomorrow we’re going to make history once again,” Trump told his supporters who gathered in freezing temperatures late at night to see him.
Trump won Michigan when he ran against Hilary Clinton in 2016.
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