Swastika, Iron Crosses graffitied at Indiana synagogue

Congregation says it’s working with police; services have not been affected

Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, Carmel, Indiana (Google Streetview)
Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, Carmel, Indiana (Google Streetview)

A Jewish congregation in Carmel, Indiana, said on Sunday that a building on their property was vandalized with a swastika and Iron Crosses in a Friday overnight attack.

The Iron Cross was a German military medal which has been adopted as a symbol by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

The Shaarey Tefilla Temple announcement on Facebook said that religious services on Saturday morning had not been affected by the attack, and that the incident had been reported to the police.

Debra Barton Grant, CEO and executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, posted pictures of the vandalized shed on her personal Facebook page.

I’m disgusted and furious tonight that this has happened and that my beautiful State of Indiana is one of only five…

Posted by Debby Barton Grant on Saturday, July 28, 2018

Barton Grant noted that Indiana remains one of just five states without a hate crimes law.

Republican Senate leaders announced in January they were killing a bill that targeted crimes motivated by bias.

A recent poll conducted by Ball State University found that 65 percent of Indiana residents support the creation of a hate crimes law. But a deep thread of social conservatism runs throughout the Statehouse, and lawmakers faced pressure from activists who argue that a hate crimes law would create a special protected class of victims.

A provision that would have protected transgender people was a particular sticking point.

The bill by Republican Sen. Susan Glick would have specifically stated in law that a judge could take into account whether a crime was motivated by race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation or ethnicity.

It also would have required such crimes to be reported to the FBI. Currently, Indiana law enforcement agencies are not required to do so.

Anecdotal accounts suggest instances of bias crimes are on the rise in Indiana, and the Southern Poverty Law Center reports 26 active hate groups in the state.

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