Man charged in Portland, Oregon for vandalising synagogues and mosques

A man was charged with synagogue and mosque vandalisation spree. Congregation Beth Israel was vandalised in Northwest Portland, Oregon, United States on May 2 and 4.

A man was arrested this week in Portland, Oregon, in connection with a string of vandalism incidents at synagogues and a mosque there.

Michael Bivins was charged with one count of arson and three counts of criminal mischief, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The incidents Bivins was charged for happened at three local houses of worship: a rock was thrown through a window at Congregation Shir Tikvah April 30; Congregation Beth Israel was damaged with graffiti and fire on May 2 and 4; and a fire was set at the Muslim Community Center of Portland on May 3.

Bivins Twitter account shows that recently he had begun posting anti-mask content and conspiracy theories about the Biden administration and had also experienced housing instability in the last year.

Police and local Jewish leaders initially said they did not believe the incidents were connected. Nevertheless, as the string continued and the perpetrator was caught on video, the police made the connection.

After Bivins’ arrest, Rabbi Cahana of the Congregation Beth Israel said: “This series of events, which has shaken our community, is an important reminder that even incidents which seem random and unrelated or too minor to bother with, should be properly reported. We are all responsible for one another.”

The incidents at the synagogues came just after Yom Hashoah, the Jewish Holocaust remembrance day, while the mosque fire came just after Eid, the festival to mark the end of Ramadan.