FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The City of Fayetteville removed antisemitic graffiti from the Razorback Greenway trail after it was reported by the Temple Shalom of Northwest Arkansas.
On Saturday, Fayetteville police received a report that the graffiti, including swastikas, was painted across their adopted section of the trail. The city of Fayetteville quickly painted over the areas, but it caused concern for the Jewish community in the area.
Leadership with the Temple Shalom of Northwest Arkansas issued the following statement:
We are saddened and disappointed that this occurred in our community. We condemn antisemitism and religious and racial prejudice in all its forms. These acts of hatred have no place in our community.
However, we also know that the Jewish community in Fayetteville and NW Arkansas have friends and advocates across the region. Our highest priority is the safety and security of all our community members. We are appreciative of the support we have received from the Fayetteville Police Department and Parks & Recreation department. We won’t let these acts of hate intimidate us and will continue to respond with acts of kindness.Leadership, Temple Shalom of Northwest Arkansas
According to the most recent report by the Anti-Defamation League, there’s been a 34% increase in antisemitic incidents across the United States. The group is one of the oldest anti-hate groups in the country. Lindsay Friedmann, south central regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, said the incident is a sign there is rising hate in the community that the community should be addressing.
Friedmann said Saturday was known by some groups as the National Day of Hate. On that day, certain groups were set to target the Jewish community with hateful messaging. While it’s not known when the vandalism happened, Friedmann said it’s concerning that it was found on the National Day of Hate.
It doesn’t matter where or when the antisemitic graffiti was painted, according to Friedmann. She said it never should have occurred. She added it isn’t just the Jewish community that should speak up when incidents like this happen but the community as a whole.
“It doesn’t matter where on the trail it was found. That it was found is deeply concerning and troubling,” Friedmann said.
The Fayetteville Police Department received the report and is investigating the incident. Sgt. Tony Murphy said they see graffiti frequently but none of this nature. While he doesn’t believe there is a threat to the Jewish community, the police department will be looking into it.
“At this point, I haven’t come across any information that would lead me to believe that there’s any kind of threat, but we will continue to monitor the situation and investigate to the best of our ability,” Sgt. Murphy said.