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Palestinian mosque in Israel vandalized with anti-Islamic graffiti

Dec. 8, 2013 11:58 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 8, 2013 5:51 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A mosque in the northern Israeli Arab village of Baqa al-Gharbiya was vandalized with anti-Islamic graffiti on Sunday morning.

The mosque in the village was covered with graffiti in Hebrew reading, "Muhammad is a pig," as well as "mutual responsibility," and "terror stones," slogans which suggest the attack was carried out by Jewish right-wing extremists as part of a "price tag" attack.

Mosque imam Sheikh Kiri Achsander told Israeli media on Sunday that "after Fajr (dawn) prayers we exited the mosque and found the graffiti on the wall. These types of incidents keep happening again and again, this time it happened in Baqa."

"Unfortunately, the government still does not take proper care of such incidents, thus encouraging racists to continue actions, which damage the sanctity of holy places and the Prophet Mohammed," he was quoted as saying by Ynet.

"There is anger. After the incident lots of people arrived at the mosque and expressed rage at the act and demanded that it not be ignored."

"We want to send a message to those doing the graffiti that they are villains and we refuse to get upset by their actions," he continued.

"The goal of such attacks is to make life difficult for us. But we are here to say they will not darken our days, we are here and we will continue to be here. Such graffiti will not deter us. Arabs and Muslims are united in their zero tolerance to this kind of nonsense, the sheikh said, according to Ynet.

A local youth named Ahmed Maswara told Ynet, "Me and other local youths will get together later today to decide if we want to organize a demonstration against this act of terror – because those perpetrating such acts are terrorists."

"Unfortunately they get a green light to continue harming us," he added, according to the Israeli media site.

"Price tag" is the term given by Israeli settler extremists to refer to attacks randomly targeting Palestinian civilians, including those living inside Israel.

The attacks are often committed in retribution for any perceived slight against the settlement enterprise, including decisions made by the Israeli government or other political actors.

Price tag attacks often target individual Palestinians' property as well as Christian and Muslim religious sites, and hundreds occur every year.

Baqa al-Gharbiya is a Palestinian village in the north of Israel.

Although the majority of Palestinians were expelled from their homes inside Israel during the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of the State of Israel, some Palestinians managed to remain in their villages and their descendants today make up around 20% of Israel's population.
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