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Monday, July 24, 2006

Religious flag's burning called a hate crime

Release Date: 07/23/06
News Source: Stateman Journal (Salem, Oregon)

A flagpole at the Dasmesh Darbar Sikh Temple in South Salem was uprooted and the flag was burned Saturday morning in what temple members called a hate crime.

Members found the remains of the flag about 6 a.m. The 4-foot-tall flag had a Khanda, the primary symbol of the Sikh faith, printed on it.

The flagpole had been removed from a stump on the back of the property, in which it was anchored, and brought just outside the temple's chain-link fence, where it was set ablaze.

Flowers also were ripped out, and a nonworking bike was thrown to the opposite side of the property.

Temple President Bahadur Singh said there have been no other incidents since the temple was established in October. He said that the community has been supportive of the group.

The building, at 860 Oak Hill Ave. SE, previously was the home of a Lutheran church. Two crosses that still stand on the property were not harmed.

Salem police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

-- Chris Hagan

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