Havasu Jewish temple vandalized

January 4, 2019

A Lake Havasu City Jewish temple was vandalized last week.

According to the Lake Havasu City Police Department, eight exterior light fixtures, a large sign and other fixtures surrounding Havasu’s Temple Beth Shalom were damaged in the offense, causing about $1,000 in property damage.

According to Lake Havasu City Police Lt. Tom Gray, there is no evidence at this time to suggest the act constituted a “hate” crime. The department has received no other recent reports of criminal damage to other places of worship in Havasu, Gray said, and officers will be conducting extra patrols in an effort to identify the person or people responsible.

The Anti-Defamation League of Arizona and the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued separate press releases to denounce the act.

“There was a very disturbing act of vandalism at Temple Beth Shalom in Lake Havasu City,” the ADL said. “There is no place for hate in Arizona. ADL Arizona reached out to congregational leadership to express solidarity and concern. We also reached out to the Lake Havasu City Police Department, and appreciate their efforts in responding to and investigating hate incidents.”

Arizona Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Imraan Siddiqi issued a statement on Monday to condemn the act.

“We are continuing to see a disturbing rise in the level of hate targeting vulnerable communities in Arizona and across the country,” Siddiqi said. “We stand in solidarity with our Jewish neighbors and ask our elected officials to strengthen our state’s hate crime laws to ensure that all communities are protected.”

Despite no confirmation having been found to assert the vandalism constituted a “hate crime,” the organization cited the vandalism at Temple Beth Shalom as the last anti-Semitic incident in Arizona during 2018.

Congregation leaders at Temple Beth Shalom could not be reached for comment by telephone as of Thursday evening.

The case remained under investigation as of Thursday evening. Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the Lake Havasu City Police Department at 928-855-1171, or Lake Havasu City Silent Witness at 928-854-8477.

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