Truck tagged with swastikas and racial slur in N. Idaho - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Truck tagged with swastikas and racial slur in N. Idaho

Alison Boggs
The Spokesman-Review

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A Coeur d'Alene man of Middle Eastern descent left his pickup parked downtown Thursday night and returned to find it spray-painted with swastikas and a racial slur and a front tire slashed.

The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations counts the incident as the seventh hate crime perpetrated in the Inland Northwest since May, co-founder Tony Stewart said Friday.

Haitham Joudeh, 33, who is a Muslim of Jordanian descent, was celebrating a friend's birthday Thursday and left his black Ford F350 truck parked at the corner of Third Street and Coeur d'Alene Avenue. Friends drove Joudeh and his wife home around midnight, he said.

In the morning, he was notified by police that his truck had been vandalized. Two swastikas were painted on it along with a slur urging him to "go home."

"I was born in this state. This is my home. What are they talking about?" said Joudeh, a University of Idaho graduate. "It makes me feel like I don't belong in this place. It makes me fear for my life and my family's life. I mean, what's next? They're going to come to my house? Seriously, what's going to be next?"

Someone already has been to his house, where Joudeh lives with his wife and baby son. On Friday morning, Joudeh found a racist flier from the Aryan Nations in a plastic baggie on his lawn. The flier was similar to those distributed in several other Inland Northwest neighborhoods in recent months.

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