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Baha'i Center in Dallas Erases Graffiti Slurs

The following was composed from an article by Jay B. Lewis in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram on Friday, March 21, 1997, entitled "Baha'i Center in Dallas Erases Graffiti Slurs."

Right-wing and satanic graffiti was painted on the side of the Dallas Baha'i Center on either the evening of March 19 or the morning of March 20--right before the Baha'i celebration of Naw-Ruz, which ends a period of Fasting and begins a new year on the Baha'i calendar. One of the 300 members of the Baha'i community noticed the spray-painted expressions of hatred early in the morning of March 20 and the police and media were immediately contacted. The offensive graffiti included: "Stop mixing the races!" "Kill the Jews!" "666" "What about Dresden?" "Death to the Beast!" "Waco" "White power!" and Nazi swastikas.

Dallas area Baha'is pitched in to repaint the center before the beginning of the scheduled Naw-Ruz celebration. Total cost was estimated at $500.

There have been a variety of reactions among the Baha'is of Dallas. Some are concerned for the safety of their small children at the Center. Others see a brighter side in that the attack is evidence that the Baha'i messages of the unity of humankind, the oneness of religion, and the goals of an end to prejudice and war is being made known--even if it is to hate groups. In addition, the vandalism served as a small reminder of the sufferings that the Baha'is in the Cradle of the Faith (Iran) have endured for more than a century.

The Star Telegram quoted Mark Briskman, regional director of the Anti- Defamation League which tracks far-right groups, as saying that the mix of symbols indicates confused proclivities. "There are two things that are not consistent with neo-Nazi stuff, "Brinkman said. "One is the three 6s, and the other is the reference to Waco."

Dallas Police and its intelligence division are invesigating the case as a hate crime.

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