November 15, 2019
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Anti-Muslim graffiti found at USM’s Portland campus

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
File photo of the USM Portland campus.

PORTLAND, Maine — For the second time in recent months, police at the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus are investigating anti-Muslim graffiti.

The phrase “Kill the Muslin” [sic] was found on Tuesday night written on a poster instructing people on what to do in the case of an active shooter, said USM spokesman Robert Stein. The phrase was written around an image of someone hitting a gunman with a chair beneath the header “Fight,” Stein said.

The implication of the graffiti appeared to be that a shooter would be Muslim, Stein said.

In an email to the university community USM President Glenn Cummings called the statement “disgraceful” and expressed regret that the school has not been able to prevent multiple anti-Muslim incidents over the past year.

“I am personally sickened by this and apologize to our many Muslim students whose presence on our campus and contributions to our university I could not value more,” said Cummings. “While we can not control the behavior of every single person who finds their way onto our campus, I can assure you our approach is that even one incident is too many and will not be tolerated.”
Last November, campus police investigated graffiti found in a student government office as a possible hate crime. In that incident “Deus vult” was written twice in the Woodbury Campus Center.

The Latin phrase translates to “God wills it” and was supposedly used as a rallying cry during the First Crusade. More recently it has been taken up as an insult against Muslims by the alt-right.

Hamdia Ahmed, a USM student and activist in the Muslim and immigrant communities, wrote on Facebook that the incident is “a hate crime.”

“I am completely disgusted by this!” Ahmed wrote.

Watch for updates.


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