Northern New York Newspapers
NNY Business
NNY Living
Fri., Aug. 28
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
In print daily. Online always.

No home for hatred


A troubling act of vandalism occurred a week ago in the city of Watertown, and residents are urged to report anything suspicious that may lead to an arrest.

Issa Alzouma, a Watertown resident, found his car damaged Dec. 7 in front of his home.

The windshield as well as front and rear driver’s side windows were broken, and a vulgar note was left at the scene.

“U (expletive) (racial slur) I know where u work too!!! U better watch your back!!!” the note said, according to a transcript in a police report Mr. Alzouma showed the Watertown Daily Times. “(Expletive) Muslim and (racial slur)! Quit your job or else.”

The 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche that Mr. Alzouma drives sustained about $3,200 worth of damage.

He has lived in Watertown for the past three years, moving here from Niger.

As a black man and a Muslim, he is obviously unnerved by the vicious tone of the threatening letter.

Mr. Alzouma has been on paid leave from his job with Securitas Security Systems at the Dulles State Office Building since the incident took place because of the nature of the threat.

That the offender knows not only where Mr. Alzouma lives but also where he works is alarming.

“Even now, I get sad and depressed,” Mr. Alzouma said about the incident and the lack of information so far. “I’ve worked with Americans many times. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”

If they haven’t done so already, Watertown police should classify this vandalism as a hate crime.

This would be the first time since 2008 that the department has investigated a hate crime, according to data from the state Division of Criminal Justice.

State penal code declares that a hate crime occurs when a person commits an offense involving violence, intimidation or property damage because of the actual or perceived background of the victim.

This case falls squarely in that definition.

On Wednesday, members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the FBI should be brought in to help with the investigation.

“The racial and religious slurs used in this act of violence clearly indicate a need to investigate a bias motive,” said Sadyia Khalique, the director of operations for CAIR’s state chapter. “By adding its resources to the investigation of this case, the FBI will send a message that hate-motivated acts of anti-Muslim violence will not be tolerated.”

Paul Holstein, a media representative for the FBI in Albany, said in an email sent the same day to the Watertown Daily Times that “the FBI is aware of this incident and is available to assist if needed.”

The attempt at intimidation should disturb everyone in the city.

The depravity that drove the offender to commit such an act is appalling and incomprehensible.

And everyone in Watertown should make it clear that there is no place for such biased sentiments in the city.

Raw hate is never satisfied, and the offender will begin looking for other victims once a sense of victory has been achieved in this instance.

Don’t let the offender claim that victory and smearing the city’s good name and reputation.

Commenting rules:
  1. Stick to the topic of the article/letter/editorial.
  2. When responding to issues raised by other commenters, do not engage in personal attacks or name-calling.
  3. Comments that include profanity/obscenities or are libelous in nature will be removed without warning.
Violators' commenting privileges may be revoked indefinitely. By commenting you agree to our full Terms of Use.
Syracuse Football Tickets Giveaway
Connect with Us
WDT News FeedsWDT on FacebookWDT on TwitterWDT on InstagramWDT for iOS: iPad, iPhone, and iPod touchWDT for Android
Showcase of Homes
Showcase of Homes