A Gaithersburg synagogue is scrubbing off hateful graffiti and trying to figure out how to explain hate speech to young students Tuesday after someone spray-painted swastikas, “Hitler” and “KKK” on the building.
“We’ll tell students there are people who aren’t nice in this world, who have hatred in their hearts,” said Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal of Shaare Torah, which also serves as a nursery school. “Fortunately, most people have good hearts, and we just have to stand up to that hate and be strong.”
Surveillance video shows the suspects at 2:47 a.m., wearing hoodies, masks and gloves. They are seen running from wall to wall and door to door, spray-painting.
While the suspects seem to be young, police say this is a hate crime.
“These types of hate crimes have no place in a democratic society,” said Mark Sroka, chief of the Gaithersburg police. “This is not a prank when you show bias toward religious faith based groups.”
The rabbi wants who ever did this to be held accountable.
“It’s not a prank. It’s a serious crime to use these kinds of symbols on a synagogue,” Blumenthal said.
Police continue to investigate, going door to door in the area Tuesday in hopes of turning up more clues.
Gaithersburg mayor Jud Ashman, meanwhile, released a statement saying ““Gaithersburg is not a community that will tolerate such a hate crime.
“We are an inclusive community, one that prides itself on diversity and collaboration. When such a despicable act is committed, it impacts all of us, regardless of religion, race or creed,” the statement read.