New Mexico
New Mexico iStock

A Jewish couple who recently moved to a small town in New Mexico believe they were targeted with a burning cross on their lawn because of anti-Semitism.

Tom and Merrie Bigham moved to Mountainair, New Mexico, which has about 850 residents, a year and a half ago.

According to KRQE, on August 19, while taking an early morning walk with the family dog, Tom Bigham said that he discovered a burned cross in their yard.

They contacted the local police to file a report. There are no suspects so far. The couple believe they were targeted for being Jewish as a burning cross – which the ADL describes as “one of the most potent hate symbols” – has long been identified as a form of intimidation against Jews and African Americans used by the Ku Klux Klan.

The police report stated that the vandalism is being investigated as a hate crime. Tom Bigham also contacted the FBI.

“He walked around with me, he took some pictures. I don’t feel safe here at all,” he said.

The couple also detailed being harassed at night by someone who repeatedly drove by their house and flashed their headlights at them. The incidents led them to put up a fence.

They are now afraid to leave the house for extended periods of time or to go to synagogue. They also fear retaliation.

We’re fairly new residents here,” Merrie Bigham told KRQUE. “It’s important for us to just feel safe.”