LA Police Probe Fire, Vandalism At Japanese Buddhist Temple

One of a pair of metal lanterns knocked down at the entrance of the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple, is seen in Los Angeles Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021.(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities are investigating vandalism and fire at a Buddhist temple in the Little Tokyo section of downtown Los Angeles.

Surveillance video caught a man jumping the security fences at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple on Thursday night, smashing a 12-foot-high glass window with a rock, yanking a pair of metallic lanterns off their concrete bases and lighting two wooden lantern stands on fire, the temple's head priest told the Los Angeles Times.

“Your first feelings are those of disappointment and sadness to see what happened,” said the Rev. Noriaki Ito. “I don’t know the motives, but it looks like we were targeted. The only relief I find is that no one was hurt.”

The incident comes amid a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans. The advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate said it tracked 245 reports of coronavirus-related discrimination against people of Asian descent in Los Angeles County from March through December last year. They included verbal harassment, physical assaults, or refusal of service at the business.

Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Stacy Spell said it was too early to label Thursday’s vandalism a hate crime because the investigation is in the early stages.

Ito said the vandalism is part of a troubling pattern of security breaches at the 1 1/2-acre sanctuary during the last two weeks.

They said that on Feb. 18, a couple trespassed onto the property and, when told to leave by a security guard, assaulted the man, who has since quit.

On Tuesday, another unidentified person snuck onto the property as a truck was making a delivery and stole an unattended iPhone from a temple gardener.

“This is going to lead to changes where we’re going to have 24-hour security, at least during the weekdays,” said Ito, who has been with the temple since its founding. “We’ve been here 45 years and this has never happened.”

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

more from IFYC

Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar commemorating Muhammad’s reception of the Qur’an, begins on Monday.
"Ramadan can be an opportunity for Muslims in interfaith relationships to introduce their partners to the core beliefs and teachings of Islam, as well as to the ways different Muslim cultures share what is a deeply communal experience."
This year, Ramadan will begin on Monday or Tuesday (April 12 or 13), depending on when Muslims around the world sight the new moon that signals the beginning of the lunar month.
"In the Qur’an, God – Exalted Be He – proclaims that we should ask the people endowed with knowledge…All the experts are saying the same thing: please get vaccinated and do it now."
"Among the topics educators must address to reduce bullying and to ensure representation in the classroom are religion and religious identity."
Whether I am based in Los Angeles, Washington DC, or Kansas City, I remain committed to building bridges of mutual respect and understanding among people of different backgrounds.
Biden said the partnership between the seminary and a community health center is one of many that are happening between religious and medical organizations across the nation.
"All the more so, we need more translators to help us understand what exists before our eyes, yet remains elusive to our understanding."
'Montero' is the anthem of a Black gay man roaring back from years of self-hate caused by anti-LGBTQ+ theologies. As a queer child of the Black church, it’s an anthem that resonates with me.
The rise of the "nones" — people who say they have no religion — is to some extent the result of a shift in how Americans understand religious identity.
Faith-based agencies like LIRS, which often contract with the federal government to settle migrants, were decimated by the Trump administration's border policies and then by COVID-19 restrictions.
About 550,000 chairs sit empty around the tables of American homes today — each one a reminder of the unbearable loss we have incurred.
But this year, as in 2020, crowds are banned from gathering in Italy and at the Vatican. Francis delivered his noon Easter address on world affairs from inside the basilica, using the occasion to appeal anew that vaccines reach the poorest countries.
This story is available to readers in both English and Spanish. Spanish title: Nuestro Chat Familiar Cubano: Un Microcosmos de Nuestra República Democrática
Some evangelicals have even linked coronavirus vaccinations to the “mark of the beast” – a symbol of submission to the Antichrist found in biblical prophecies, Revelation 13:18.
"I started Holy Week, lamenting that I didn’t have a story of Jesus that I felt comfortable sharing with my six-year-old son and his six-year-old mind, heart and spirit. So I wrote one."
For centuries, this prayer was worded in a way to imply an anti-Semitic meaning, referring to the Jews as “perfidis,” meaning “treacherous” or “unfaithful.”
Higher Ed Leader Raja G. Bhattar writes and performs a beautiful poem that was inspired recently, after attending my first all Desi/South Asian meditation retreat.
Yet while Gen-Y and Gen-Z evangelicals are exhibiting greater concern for various pressing issues, there are threads within our social fabric that require more of their attention: and religious diversity is among them.
"In my mind, COVID represents Mitzrayim, the narrow place, our place of enslavement, the place of trauma and pain. As more of us are vaccinated and we move toward freedom, we find ourselves at the edge of the sea thinking about our past, our pain..."
"A lot of people are really excited," said Sheikh Adam Jamal, assistant imam. "There's people, seniors, who probably have been doing taraweeh (at a mosque) every year since they were young... They've missed it for a year—that was just devastating."

The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.