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01/07/2021 San Francisco (International Christian Concern) – According to a report from the San Francisco Examiner, hate crimes against the Armenian Christian community are on the rise. In the San Francisco Bay area alone, there were four anti-Armenian hate crimes during the second half of last year, including arson and vandalization. These crimes come alongside the armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan sparked in September after a decades-long feud between the two countries.

An estimated 2,500 Armenian-Americans live in the San Francisco Bay Area as a result of the spread of the Armenian diaspora following the Armenian genocide in the early 20th century. Turkey, the perpetrator of the genocide and supporter of Azerbaijan in the recent conflict, has been perpetuating a propaganda campaign to deny the existence of this genocide. California was also home to pro-Armenian protests around the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles last year in response to its aggressions against Armenia.

One of these anti-Armenian incidents happened on September 17 of last year, when an unknown suspect set fire to the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church in a San Francisco neighborhood, causing extensive damage to the building. The incident prompted a response from the FBI San Francisco Field Office, putting out a reward for information on the arsonist.

FBI Special Agent Craig Fair, the agent assigned to the case, emphasized the significance of the attack in his statement. “This act of violence was not just an attack on a building, but on a congregation,” said Agent Fair. “This was an attack on a community.”

Other anti-Armenian incidents in the area included the spraying hateful graffiti on an Armenian school with the Azerbaijani colors, and a shooting at the school that occurred during the night, resulting in no injuries.

These manifestations of anti-Armenian sentiment around the world are part of an ongoing pattern as a result of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh), the disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Such hatred is already widespread within Turkey, and continues to grow as a result of anti-Armenian rhetoric used by the Turkish government.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].