Someone painted the ominous words “ISIL We R here” in black on a brick wall beneath a basketball hoop outside Miller Elementary School in Salem, Oregon, during the weekend. Police quickly cleaned up the graffiti Monday morning, KPTV, Portland, reported.
Law enforcement said it’s the first time graffiti related to the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has been spotted in the area. Police, who said there is no known ISIS activity in the area, have not yet identified a suspect, KPTV reported. “Of course, it’s alarming,” Miller Elementary School Principal Jessica Brendan told KPTV. “It was a big surprise that it happened here at Miller.”
— FOX 12 Oregon KPTV (@fox12oregon) June 2, 2015
This is not the first time ISIS-related graffiti has emerged in the United States. Hand-scribbled Arabic proclaiming an Islamic caliphate with the “ISIS” tag has popped up around Washington in recent months and has caught the attention of the FBI, WJLA, Washington, reported.
Graffiti showing support for the Islamic State also has appeared in Minnesota, Texas, Las Vegas, Arizona, California and New York City in addition to many other cities around the world. The phrase “ISIS is here” appeared on a house in Brooklyn last year, and the words “ISIS will remain” were painted in the Lyndale neighborhood of Minneapolis a month later.
Although the Islamic militant group is based in Iraq and Syria, ISIS has successfully recruited young men and women from around the world with its slick social media campaigns. An estimated 20,000 foreign fighters -- 3,400 from Western countries -- have joined the Islamic State and other extremist organizations, the Associated Press reported earlier this year, citing U.S. intelligence officials.
The group’s recruitment efforts abroad have fueled fears of homegrown radicalism and terror attacks in America. ISIS claimed responsibility for a shooting in a Dallas suburb outside an event that was characterized as anti-Muslim. The attack was foiled but the Islamic State group warned of more attacks to come on American soil.