Neighbors and strangers are rallying behind a man who found an anti-Muslim and racial slur spray-painted on his car in the Crown Point area of San Diego.
The man, who did not wish to be identified, spoke with NBC 7 on Tuesday, saying the incident is actually bringing everyone together.
He said he is African-American, not Muslim, but the incident saddened him.
"I don’t want to say acceptable because it’s not acceptable, but it’s becoming acceptable in the minds that are doing things like this, which I don’t agree with," he said.
The victim said he didn't know about the vandalism until a friend called him around 10 a.m. Monday, telling him that something was wrong. When he went outside to check, he found the racial slur written on the passenger side of his car.
"It catches you off guard," he said. "It opens your eyes with stuff that you try to desensitize yourself with and push to the side."
"What in their life is going on that makes them feel like they have to do something like this," he added.
Neighbor Nicole Choi said when she first saw the photo, she couldn't believe it had occurred it her neighborhood.
"I don’t see what the point of it is," Choi said. "How is that helping you feel better, anyone feel better? It's just enraging people and that’s what causes people to get mad at each other and then they don’t talk to each other."
She told NBC 7 that it made her angry and upset but she wanted to share a message with the victim.
Along with others in the neighborhood, Choi wrote the victim a letter, expressing her sadness and assuring him that he is welcome.
"I just wanted to let him know that I don’t know if you’re Muslim, I don’t know if you’re an immigrant--that you’re welcome in this neighborhood and that people in this neighborhood feel very ashamed. [We] want to let you know that it’s fine for you to be here, we want you to be here," she said.
The victim said racism is still an issue that won't go away anytime soon, but he hopes it will change.
"I don’t see a divide between us. I see us you know, all as one. Everybody is from somewhere else," he said.
He told NBC 7 that he did file a police report and hopes that sharing his experience could help others.