An unknown vandal defaced several posters in OSH, which promoted an event about peace between America and Islamic nations, with the message “F— Islam.”
The Hinckley Institute of Politics, which hosted the advertised event on Wednesday — a lecture on Islamaphobia and bigotry fueled by the 2016 presidential race with Omid Safi, director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center — received reports of the vandalism before 5 p.m. Friday and filed a case with Campus Police.
U spokesperson Maria O’Mara said the Institute took down all posters since the event is now over. They removed about nine, seven of which featured the graffitied phrases “F— Islam” and “Islam means death to the West” written in black marker and all capital letters. The fliers were posted around the second floor of OSH. O’Mara said the messages are disheartening and hateful.
“Personal attacks, stereotyping, negative interactions like this based on an individual’s religion or national origin are just unacceptable,” she said. “Our goal here is to promote a sense of belonging for every individual on campus and certainly a message like that would be contrary to a sense of belonging and safety.”
U Police will investigate the incident as a hate crime, as it targets a minority religion on campus. O’Mara, though, is unsure if there are surveillance cameras in OSH that may have captured footage of who wrote on the posters.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know how easy it is to track down [the person responsible],” she said. “This kind of vandalism is a tough one to keep on top of.”
ASUU and the U’s Muslim Student Association will host a discussion on religious tolerance with the Office for Equity and Diversity to speak about Muslim culture on Friday, April 15 at 6 p.m. in the Union Saltair room. Though the event was not planned as a response to the graffiti, O’Mara encourages students and faculty concerned by the vandalism to attend as she believes it shows the “positive conversation we’re trying to foster” at the U.