Serbian church in Phoenix vandalized with fascist symbols

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Vandals painted a cross with four Cs, which is on the Serbian coat of arms and means "Only unity saves the Serbs," and then put a red X across it. By Jennifer Thomas Vandals painted a cross with four Cs, which is on the Serbian coat of arms and means "Only unity saves the Serbs," and then put a red X across it. By Jennifer Thomas
Vandals painted a U shape, which is a symbol of Croatia's fascist movement, and then put ZDS, which stands for "Za dom spremni" and means "For the homeland ready." By Jennifer Thomas Vandals painted a U shape, which is a symbol of Croatia's fascist movement, and then put ZDS, which stands for "Za dom spremni" and means "For the homeland ready." By Jennifer Thomas
St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church By Jennifer Thomas St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church By Jennifer Thomas
St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church By Jennifer Thomas St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX – A Serbian Orthodox church in Phoenix was vandalized with fascist symbols on Tuesday, which was Orthodox Christmas Eve.

Block fence posts outside St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church near Cactus and Cave Creek roads were painted with symbols of Crostia's fascist group, Ustashi, which murdered Serbs and Jews during World War II.

Alexander Stojsic, a spokesman for the church, said the parish is home to many Serbian refugees who fled the Croatian ethnic cleansing in the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s.

Stojsic said the act was timed to terrorize the Phoenix Serbian population.

Fewer people attended Wednesday morning's Serbian Orthodox Christmas service.

"Everyone heard about it and a lot of people are afraid, they're staying away," Stojsic said. "They're just horrified. It's bringing back memories of what happened to them and they're terrified."

Stojsic likened the vandalism to painting a swastika on a synagogue.

"It brings back memories of ethnic cleansing, of genocide, and it's horrifying," he said.

Phoenix police were notified of the incident.