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Muslim group denounces racist graffiti

January 20, 2021 GMT

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (AP) — A national Muslim advocacy group is denouncing racist graffiti found in Rhode Island and Virginia.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Wednesday that graffiti was found recently on the Stillwater Scenic Trail in Smithfield, R.I.

The organization didn’t elaborate on the vandalism, but local news outlets said the graffiti was critical of the Black Lives Matter movement and included expletives.

CAIR noted that some residents have also complained local officials are not doing enough to remove the graffiti and have yet to publicly condemn it.

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Meanwhile in Virginia, police recently found graffiti with white nationalist messages near an elementary school in Leesburg named after Frederick Douglass, the famed Black abolitionist.

CAIR said the graffiti was found the same weekend as white supremacist flyers were circulated in the neighborhood. White supremacist and neo-Nazi propaganda has also been distributed to residents and businesses in other parts of Virginia in recent days, the organization added.

“Local, state and national leaders must speak out forcefully against growing bigotry nationwide,” said Ayan Ajeen, a spokeswoman for CAIR. “The continued targeting of Black and minority communities, and the promotion of white supremacy and racism, must end.”