A swastika was scratched onto the front-door glass last weekend of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Police are searching for a suspect seen in surveillance footage from the building’s security cameras. The assailant is said to be a tall male wearing dark clothing at the time of the vandalism, according to the local newspaper, Deseret News. The incident is being handled as a hate crime, reported Newsweek.

“A swastika is not a political statement. A swastika is an image of hate,” said the Jewish center’s director, Rabbi Avremi Zippel, who also shared a photo of the vandalism on Twitter. “A swastika represents one thing and one thing only—and that is death to the Jews.”

Defacing a Jewish establishment with a swastika “is hateful, despicable and cowardly in every sense of the words,” he said. Surveillance footage showed that the vandalism was “pretty deliberate,” added the rabbi.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) condemned the vandalism on Twitter. He talked about how George Washington welcomed Jews to the United States, saying the first president set an example for how “all Americans” should act. He also wrote that “those who commit acts of vandalism against Jews or their places of worship in Salt Lake City or anywhere else only disgrace their own souls.”

Zippel told the press on Sunday: “We will rise above hatred. We will never give it the space and the attention that it demands and that it wants. We will … bring light to a world that so much needs it.”


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