update deskAntisemitism

Suspect charged in November vandalism of Michigan Chabad

Jiafeng Chen is accused of spray-painting swastikas on the Chabad House of Kalamazoo and defacing a menorah.

FBI logo. Credit: Dzelat/Shutterstock.
FBI logo. Credit: Dzelat/Shutterstock.

Jiafeng Chen, 27, was charged on Wednesday in connection with spray-painted swastikas on the Chabad House of Kalamazoo, Mich., and defacing a menorah on the property in November.

Chen, whose name is spelled Jaifeng in some news reports in December, when he was arrested, is accused of vandalizing the Chabad “because of the Jewish characteristics of individuals associated with it,” according to the U.S. Justice Department.

“Every faith community in this country has the right to gather and worship free from intimidation,” stated Mark Totten, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan.

“Defacing religious property is not mere vandalism. It’s an attack on a constitutional right that tries to tell certain people they’re not welcome in the community,” Totten stated. “We will continue to work with our partners to prevent these crimes and hold those who commit them swiftly accountable.”

“People of all faiths should not live in fear because of the religion they choose to practice,” stated Cheyvoryea Gibson, special agent in charge of the FBI in Michigan.

“The FBI and our law enforcement partners have remained vocal advocates of protecting all places of worship and are committed to removing those from our communities who resort to bias-motivated violence,” Gibson added.

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