A possible hate crime is now under investigation after a Muslim man found death threats towards Muslims spray-painted on the wall of a business in San Diego's North Park community.
Noomane Trabelsi, 39, who told NBC 7 he served in the U.S. Army, said the hateful message was found on Monday, spray-painted on the back door of The Studio Door on 30th Street, next to North Park Computers, where Trabelsi works.
The area is home to a number of small businesses owned by Muslims.
“We have a really solid family spirit here and we’re very diverse and so it makes me angry people would lash out with that kind of hatred,” Patrick Stillman, owner of The Studio Door, told NBC 7.
Trabelsi said the graffiti hit him hard.
“It’s painful and you panic when you see that stuff,” he explained.
As a father, Noomane said this incident has now made him concerned for the safety of his family. Instead of painting everyone with a broad stroke, he's hoping for a better understanding of his religion.
"Don’t mix Islam with radical people," he said. "We are not radical people. We love the United States."
Tarek Benhassen, owner of the 30th Street eatery, La Creperie, has operated his business in the area for years and said he's never been exposed to this type of disturbing display.
“We came here because it’s supposed to be a co-existence with a country that’s multicultural and people coming from all over the world," Benhassen said.
The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) is aware of the graffiti and said officers are investigating. There is no word yet on whether it will be considered a hate crime.