Community Leaders Gather to Discuss Increase in Hate Incidents

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WOODLAND -- A large gathering of community leaders and law enforcement officials gathered at their Yolo County administration building to denounce a hate letter sent to a Davis Mosque.

The photocopied, handwritten letter was sent to the Davis Islamic Center and other mosques in Northern California. It is from a purported Trump supporter who calls Muslims children of Satan and vile and filthy dogs.

It also says Trump is going to cleanse America beginning with Muslims and that he is going to do to Muslims what Hitler did to Jews. Some leaders at the mosque feel such sentiments are a trend since the election.

“We feel the hate against Muslims is increasing, and so we worry about that as a Muslim,” said Essam Abdelfatteh, a board member of the Davis Islamic Center.

Yonus Amsar worships at the Mosque. He believes Muslims are scapegoats for discontent.

The increase in the number of hate crimes recorded by the FBI and the California Department of Justice, especially in Davis where the university draws a diverse ethnic and religious population, is troubling. The letter itself is not a hate crime because there was no explicit threat. But hate incidents like the letter are just as concerning.

“We are hearing anecdotal comments that are being made, including messages of hate,” said Davis Police Chief Darren Paytel.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig was among the gathering of elected officials and law enforcement leaders who said such hate incidents cannot be tolerated.

“If you see or hear a hate incident, report it, we will act,” said Reisig.

He joined the others in saying an attack on one part of the community is an attack on the freedom of everyone.

There was an out pouring of support for the Davis Mosque after the letter. Davis residents sent flowers to the Mosque, and several hundred residents gathered in support of the mosque on Sunday.

Some said the incident had the opposite effect of what the sender may have intended by unifying the community.

“We are happy because this shows that there are many good people here,” said Abdelfatteh.