Local Buddhists say 'thank you' for support from the community

By Matt Russell, Post-Bulletin, June 13, 2009

Rochester MN (USA) -- The Cambodian Buddhist community in Rochester is extending a "thank you" to community members who offered an outpouring of support this week following reports of harassment and vandalism at the local Buddhist temple.

Residents have dropped off flowers to replace those torn up by vandals, and several churches have called to offer support, said temple member Tracy Sam.

"They said if we ever need something, to contact them," she said.

The community response followed reports of vandalism at the temple on May 24 and June 4. Vandals spray-painted "Jesus Saves" in orange on the driveway, threw eggs at an entrance sign, ripped up flowers, and smashed lights.

Temple members say a group of boys have also harassed temple members recently by shouting obscenities at people, including monks, from the road.

The incidents led temple members to say that they feared worse damage or that they might be attacked on their property.

The support from the community this week, however, has been reassuring, Sam said.

"Some people out there really care," she said. "They think about us and they pray for us. It feels good to know that there are people in the community out there who support us."