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Vandals desecrate Buddhist temple in North Carolina

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2002

LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- Davidson County authorities plan to increase patrols around a Buddhist temple struck by vandals twice in a month.

More than two weeks ago, vandals spray-painted obscenities around the grounds of the Lexington Buddhist Temple, said Toeuy Buth, among the temple's leaders.

Members of the center painted over most of the damage, but soon found the red columns of the temple gate and the two golden lions that guard the grounds had been vandalized again.

''We feel bad when we see somebody do that,'' Buth said. ''Nobody showed up to say they didn't like us. They sneaked it in.''

Buth, a Cambodian who came to the United States in 1979, has been in Lexington with his family since 1988.

''I think it was probably just kids and a prank,'' Buth said. ''If we find out who did it, we would ask them why and what we did to deserve this.''

More than 200 families, mainly from Lexington's Cambodian community, are affiliated with the temple. It is also a gathering place where the Cambodian community holds celebrations.

The center was founded more than 12 years to serve the growing Asian population. These are the first incidents of vandalism at the temple, Buth said, though members have experienced some prejudice in the community.



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