FAIRFAX, Va. — For the second time in 18 months, a Jewish community center in Virginia was targeted by anti-Semitic vandalism.
Swastikas were found spray-painted on the outside of the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, according to Fairfax County police. Around 8 a.m. Saturday staff members found the swastikas spray-painted onto the building located at 8900 Little River Turnpike in Fairfax, police said in a statement. Surveillance video shows that the suspect spray-painted the building around 4:30 a.m.
The investigation into this incident is ongoing.
"As many of us recognize, these acts do not represent the community around the J or the community in Northern Virginia," said a statement from the community center posted on social media."We will continue our extensive security measures and ask the community to remain alert and vigilant."
This is not the first time this community has been targeted. In April of last year, staff at the community center found anti-Semitic symbolism and words spray painted on their building, according to police. The vandal also targeted a nearby church, Little River United Church of Christ.
Police arrested Dylan M. Mahone in connection with the hate-motivated incidents.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tweeted a photo of Saturday's vandalism condemning what he called "an insidious rise in hateful actions and anti-Semitism." The number of anti-Semitic incidents rose nearly 60% in 2017, the largest single year increase on record, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), also condemned the vandalism targeting Jewish Community Center.
“Acts of anti-Semitic hate are part of a disturbing rise in bigotry targeting minority communities nationwide that must be confronted and rejected by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Our nation’s leaders must speak out in favor of mutual respect and reject the divisive rhetoric that can prompt such vile, bias-motivated incidents.”
Contributing: N'dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY
Follow Arielle Buchmann on Twitter: @ariellebuchmann