Muslim grave desecrated again in Evergreen Park
SUN-TIMES MEDIA September 2, 2012 6:12PM
Updated: October 4, 2012 6:22AM
A Muslim gravesite has been defaced for the second time within the past two weeks at a cemetery in Evergreen Park.
Jessica McDunn, a spokeswoman for Houston-based Dignity Memorial Network, which owns Evergreen Cemetery, said the gravesite was defaced with anti-Islamic slurs and remarks taunting police on Tuesday or Wednesday. The cemetery gates have been closed at sunset since the defacement of the grave site began more than a year ago, she said, but restricting all access is not possible in order for families to visit. The closing of the cemetery gates restrict vehicular traffic, she said, and preventing foot traffic is not possible because there are not fences surrounding the cemetary.
Evergreen Park police have placed a light and camera strategically within a tree near the grave site, which the vandals mentioned in the graffiti, thanking police for the light, McDunn said. The cemetery also is cooperating with the FBI.
The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations could not be reached for comment Sunday regarding the recent defacement of the same gravesite.
This is the second time the same gravesite has been defaced within the past two weeks.
On Aug. 16, a Muslim man discovered someone had written “Raghaed Killer” on his father’s tombstone, Evergreen Park Police Lt. Peter Donovan said at the time.
While some Islamic groups have labeled the incident a hate crime, detectives have not yet come to the same conclusion, Donovan said, adding that street gang symbols also were drawn on the tombstone with what appeared to be a black marker.
“It’s not clear if it’s just property damage or something more,” Donovan said at the time.
Vandals have hit the same tombstone six times since March 2011, Donovan said, and detectives were trying to figure out if the grave was targeted because of the family’s religious beliefs or because of a personal vendetta.