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Church leaders describe spray painting as an 'aberration'

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Leaders of the Columbus churches sprayed painted with Muslim religious references Saturday night said the acts were an aberration in a community that prides itself on diversity.

The Rev. Clement Davis, a priest at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, said he viewed the graffiti attacks more as acts of vandalism than a religious message.

"If this was someone trying to scare us into the inevitable rise of Islam, I am not impressed," Davis said.

Columbus Police said St. Bartholomew, Lakeview Church of Christ and East Columbus Christian Church were all vandalized Saturday night with the word "infidels" and references to passages from the Quran on exterior building walls.

"It's like a kick in the stomach when you see something like that on a Sunday morning when your focus is on higher things," Davis said.

On Monday, the Islamic Society of Columbus condemned the incidents, saying  "Our community condemns such actions and believes Columbus is not a place for such behavior," the statement said. "We send our deep regret and offer a strong support for our fellow community members of East Columbus Christian Church, St. Bartholomew Catholic Church and Lakeview Church of Christ."

For more on this story, see Wednesday's Republic.

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