Someone painted two swastikas on the door of a Jewish temple in Morgan Hill, and police are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime, according to authorities.

The graffiti at Congregation Emeth, on the 17800 block of Monterey Road, was reported to Morgan Hill Police about 5pm Jan. 16, according to police. “Unknown suspect(s) painted what appeared to be two swastikas on a basement door,” MHPD Sgt. Bill Norman said.

Police have not identified or arrested a suspect.

The swastika is an ancient symbol that in modern times is used as a symbol of hate and anti-Semitism, according to the Anti Defamation League.

“Since 1945, the swastika has served as the most significant and notorious of hate symbols, anti-Semitism and white supremacy for most of the world outside of Asia,” reads the ADL website. “Its display is prohibited in Germany and some other countries, leading some right-wing extremists to devise variants or alternatives to the swastika that would evoke a similar effect. In the United States, the swastika is overwhelmingly viewed as a hate symbol.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity,” according to the FBI website.

In 2019, the FBI received 7,314 reports for hate crimes nationwide. That number has increased steadily each year since about 2013, when 5,479 hate crimes were reported to federal authorities.

Anyone with information about the vandalism reported Jan. 16 at Congregation Emeth can call Morgan Hill Police at (408) 779-2101.

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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