Church Vandalized in Sulphur Springs – a hate crime against supporters of Muslims?

06/26/07 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

Last weekend the Christ the Servant Apostolic Catholic Church in the Tampa neighborhood of Sulphur Springs was vandalized. But religious leaders in the community are concerned that the vandalism might be a hate crime because the phrase “Traitors Support Terrorist” was written on an inside wall of the church. This afternoon the Council on American-Muslim Relations, or CAIR, held a press conference at the church on North Nebraska Avenue. Bishop Chuck Leigh is the pastor of Christ the Servant Apostolic Catholic Church described what happened to his church last weekend

I got a call Saturday about vandalism. Found a little damage … money stolen, grafitti … Traitors support terrorist. Front door busted out.

Ahmed Bedier is the Executive Director of the Tampa office of CAIR and a programmer on the WMNF show True Talk. He said that the vandals might have considered the people of this church to be traitors because the church has supported Muslims. Bishop Leigh has advocated for school holidays to include Muslim holidays.

Bedier: traitors, Message / picture frames / icons / ugly message

Supporting Muslims can sometimes be seen as supporting terrorists in the mind of some people, according to Bedier. But Bedier said that there should be no tolerance for attacks on any houses of worship. He asked the Tampa Police Department to add the hate crime enhancement to this crime.


Bishop Leigh was grateful for the support from CAIR and from the several representatives from Christian Churches in the area that attended the press conference.

I was surprised and overwhelmed by the community especially since we didn’t respond when MuslimMosque had less damage. O.q. “ …. had much more significant damage.“

To learn more about CAIR, visit their website,

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