Third disgrace: Sacramento Islamic organization reveals third area hate crime in June

Police are still investigating whether rash of anti-Islamic crimes are connected

This is an expanded version of a story that ran in the July 20, 2017, issue.

Just days after two area mosques were vandalized last month, the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations was also targeted, SN&R learned this week.

The incident happened June 28. According to Basim Elkarra, executive director of CAIR-Sacramento Valley, his organization received a FedEx package. When CAIR employees opened it, they found a sealed plastic food container omitting a strange odor. They cracked it to discover a Quran stuffed in pork lard.

“Sacramento police came out and took the package, because we didn’t know exactly what was in there,” Elkarra said. “They took it to get fingerprints.”

Elkarra later learned that the sender had scrawled menacing and hateful messages inside the actual pages of the Quran, too.

CAIR officials said a FedEx tracking number indicates the package was sent from Missouri City, Texas. The region’s CAIR office recently moved to rented office space in SN&R headquarters, a fact it hadn’t publicized but is stated on its website. The FedEx package initially went to CAIR’s old office before getting forwarded to its new address.

The incident followed two still-unsolved anti-Islamic crimes in the Sacramento region on June 24. The first incident occurred at the Masjid Annur Islamic Center in South Sacramento and involved burning bacon being handcuffed to a cyclone fence. Later that day, a Quran was found torn to pieces at the Islamic Center of Davis, which had also experienced hate crimes the year before.

Sacramento County sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Turnbull told SN&R that all hate crimes directed at houses of worship in the region are monitored by the FBI and Regional Terror Threat Assessment Center.

CAIR-Sacramento Valley denounced both crimes in June, and Elkarra said that publicity might be what brought his office to the attention of someone in Texas. When his own staff was targeted, Elkarra held back on alerting the press because it works for a nonprofit rather than a house of worship. Asked about the experience this week, Elkarra said his organization won’t be intimidated into losing sight of its goal to have a positive effect in the community.

“It’s disappointing that people have so much hate,” he said. “We’re more upset they’re wasting food than anything. We rather them give it to the less fortunate.”