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ADL reports ‘alarming’ number of swastika incidents in Arizona

(ADL Photo)

PHOENIX — The Anti-Defamation League of Arizona is warning of an “alarming and disturbing” uptick in swastikas discovered across the state.

Carlos Galindo-Elvira, regional director, said his group has gotten six reports of swastikas found in different parts of the state this month.

“This is highly alarming and disturbing,” he said.

Individuals have reached out to his organization via phone calls, emails and messages on Facebook to report the incidents. Usually, the group gets one swastika incident reported per month.

“This is six already in one month, and the month isn’t over yet,” Galindo-Elvira said.

The latest one was reported right before the end of Hanukkah. Someone drew a swastika and placed it on the doorstep of an elderly Jewish woman in Scottsdale. The woman had been lighting her menorah in front of her window.

Other incidents include swastikas found inside the bathroom stall of an AMC movie theater in Surprise and on a stairwell at Camelback High School.

“We never want a swastika to be normalized,” Galindo-Elvira said. “It is a hate symbol. It represents a horrific period in world history and it is offensive not only to Holocaust survivors, but to families of Holocaust survivors.”

The Anti-Defamation League of Arizona recorded 26 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017, up from 10 the previous year.

Galindo-Elvira said it’s too soon to tell whether that number will be higher this year, but he said there could be a spike in the number of swastika incidents reported. His group will release the numbers at the end of the year.

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