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Saturday, June 22
The Indiana Daily Student

Nazi flag and other symbols spray-painted on property of Carmel synagogue


During the weekend, anti-Semitic graffiti was found at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, a synagogue in Carmel, Indiana.

The graffiti was found on two walls of a brick shed surrounding a dumpster on the property, according to IndyStar. A pair of Nazi flags and iron crosses were spray-painted on the walls of the shed.

Per IndyStar, the vandalism occurred on the synagogue's property early Saturday, according to the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council. 

Burn marks were noted on grass in front of one of the Nazi flags, as well as a portion of the graffiti on the shed walls.

“We are deeply disappointed in the horrific vandalism that occurred at our Congregation," Shaarey Tefilla Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow said in a statement in IndyStar's article. “Intolerance, hatred and violent acts against Jews are significant realities today. The response to this heinous act affirms that America is collectively outraged at these hateful acts in our neighborhoods.”

The Carmel Police Department is investigating the incident, and suspect information is currently unavailable. However, a statement from Congregation Shaarey Tefilla said the vandalism did not affect Shabbat services Saturday morning.

Local, state and national politicians have condemned the incident, with Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard releasing a statement saying the incident does not reflect the vast majority of Carmel residents.

"There is no place for this kind of hatred in Carmel," the statement read. "As we are reminded each year during our city's Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony, we must never forget and never stop fighting against the hatred that led to the murder of six million Jews. These images that represent the ideas that led to those crimes are not reflective of what our City stands for."

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted Sunday he was "sickened and appalled by the cowardly act of vandalism." Pence's tweet also said he had "many good friends" at the synagogue and those responsible for the incident must be held accountable.

Governor Eric Holcomb issued a statement Sunday offering state police assistance to the Carmel Police Department and the FBI.

“The cowards responsible for these crimes always hide from public scrutiny precisely because they know their actions will be soundly rejected by their neighbors and are not consistent with who we are as a society," the statement said.

Senator Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, also tweeted a message Sunday condemning the vandalism.

"There is no place for anti-Semitism, bigotry or hatred in our communities, state, and country," the tweet said.

Mike Braun, the Republican candidate seeking election to the U.S. Senate in November against Donnelly, released a statement about the incident.

"Anti-Semitism should be condemned in all forms," the statement read. "Acts like this disgusting crime are an attack on our core values of tolerance & diversity that our country was founded on."

Senator Mike Delph, R-29th District, and Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District, also spoke out against the vandalism Sunday.

Per IndyStar, Carmel Police Department officials said the crime is still under investigation with more information to be released later in the week.

Earlier this year, state legislators failed to agree on language for Senate Bill 418, which would have made a crime committed on the basis of characteristics of an individual — such as race, gender, sexual orientation or religion — an aggravating circumstance. This would have increased the severity of the resulting penalty.

The bill was not heard in committee.

Indiana is currently one of five states that does not have a hate crime law.

This story will be updated.

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