- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

BURLINGTON, Mass. (AP) - Muslim leaders and clergy from other faiths rallied Thursday during a demonstration themed “We are Americans” to show support for a suburban Boston mosque spray-painted with “USA” graffiti.

The morning rally at the Islamic Center of Burlington was meant to counter anti-Muslim sentiment. Supporters wrote positive messages on a large white paper hung outside the mosque, where the graffiti was written repeatedly in red spray paint over the Halloween weekend.

The messages included “USA is the land of the free” and “We love our home,” said John Robbins, head of the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, one of the event organizers.

Local politicians, the town police chief and representatives from area mosques, churches, synagogues and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce attended.

Robbins said organizers are grateful police quickly identified and arrested two suspects.

Cameron Cappella and Derrik Demone, both of Burlington, are each charged with malicious destruction of property over $250 and tagging property.

But Robbins said advocates are still hoping the local district attorney pursues hate crime charges.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations says the graffiti reflects a common anti-Muslim theme that Muslims are not “real Americans.”

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