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Wooden crosses are burned outside church in California

Local authorities are investigating a possible hate crime at a church in Sylmar, California after three wooden crosses were set on fire.

Firefighters were called to Sylmar Christian Fellowship Church – which has predominantly Latino and Black congregants – on Thursday morning. Three crosses outside the church were burned and one of them was knocked to the ground. 

Pastor Pierre Howard said: “I hope it wasn’t a hate crime. If it is a hate crime, it’s a hate against God, not a hate against us personally. There’s no history of people harassing our church members.”

Sylmar Christian Fellowship Church has been supporting the local community for 28 years and is a predominantly family-oriented institution. There are surveillance cameras, but they are not pointed toward where the crosses were burned. The police are looking for the perpetrators, although they suspect it could’ve been an individual acting alone.

L.A. police detectives categorised it as a hate crime investigation, because the fire was started outside a house of worship. They also involved arson investigators and agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations stated: “We strongly condemn this act of arson and stand in solidarity with the Black and Latino communities. We express our support and deep concern for the congregation affected by this troubling incident. It is essential that we come together as a society to denounce all acts of violence targeting houses of worship and work toward fostering a society in which every individual may practice their faith without fear of persecution or prejudice.”


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