Remember the Muslim cemetery that caused a legal controversy outside the Twin Cities a couple years ago, when a small town wouldn't allow it to be built?
Well, it did end up getting built thanks to a court order in 2016, but somebody just vandalized it.
The Al Magfirah cemetery is in Castle Rock Township in Dakota County, about 38 miles south of Minneapolis. According to a Tuesday release from the Minnesota arm of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), a building on the property was defaced with swastikas, Satanic symbols, and the phrase "leave, you r dead," among other choice phrases.
"This attack on a Muslim cemetery property comes at a time of increasing anti-Muslim incidents across the country," CAIR-MN said in the release. "Because of this rising Islamophobia...we urge law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime."
The organization also acknowledged the new cemetery's past controversies, which began in 2014 when Castle Rock denied permits for the project, effectively bringing it to a halt.
CAIR-MN sued on the grounds that the decision was allegedly motivated by "anti-Muslim bias," and last year, a Dakota County judge sided with them, allowing the cemetery to move forward.
You can find more photos of the vandalism by clicking here (warning: some of the images contain some pretty nasty language).
'Increasing anti-Muslim incidents'
Such incidents are indeed in the headlines a lot lately (including a few cases in and around Minnesota), but are they truly "on the rise" in the United States?
According to a recent national study by CAIR, the answer is yes.
The group found that anti-Muslim incidents, including hate crimes, increased by 57 percent last year.
Another report from the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, says the 2016 rise isn't quite so dramatic.
But at 20 percent, it's still pretty significant.
The study links the increase to the "inflamed passions" of the 2016 presidential election, though it also attributes the rise to "more willingness for victims to step forward," NBC News reported.