ANCA Western Region condemns Masis Ararat Cemetery arson attacks in Fresno

The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) is outraged by the arson attack that targeted the Masis Ararat Armenian Cemetery in Fresno. The cemetery in Fresno, established in 1885, is the oldest Armenian cemetery in the United States and the final resting place of Armenian heroes and public figures such as Soghomon Tehlirian, Victor Maghakian and William Saroyan.

According to the cemetery’s management, eight trees were torched by an arsonist at approximately 3 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, 2024.  The incident marks the sixth of its kind since the start of 2024, bringing down more than 19 trees total in the cemetery, indicating that these incidents are potential hate crimes against Armenians. The arson attack came 11 days before the cemetery’s newer section, dubbed Masis Ararat, is set to host an Armenian Genocide commemoration and flag raising ceremony at its Soghomon Tehlirian monument.

“These heinous attacks on the Masis Armenian Cemetery are a clear indication that anti-Armenian sentiment is an unaddressed threat to public safety, and especially the Fresno Armenian-American community,” said Oshin Harootoonian, chair of the ANCA-WR Board of Directors. “The local authorities must investigate the six incidents that have taken place since the beginning of 2024 and ensure that these patterns of crimes are effectively addressed, offender(s) be brought to justice and that the Armenian-American community is compensated for all damages.”

“ANCA Central California chapter members are working closely with the board of the Masis Ararat Armenian Cemetery and the local authorities to determine the cause of this series of arson attacks and to ensure the safety of our community in Fresno,” said Raffy Chekerdemian of the ANCA Central California chapter. “The Armenian community expects the local officials and police department to take all measures possible to prevent future arson attacks at this sacred cemetery.”

ANCA-Western Region
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.


  1. The community needs to raise funds to add security and more cameras. Afterwards we need to raise funds to build a brick fence instead of the gate. It’s not a good neighborhood and we need to protect our loved ones, the genocide survivors, and the historical Armenian people that are honored there.

  2. Relying on the police department and local officials to handle the problem clearly hasn’t worked. How would Soghomon Tehlirian have managed this situation?

  3. We need the local officials and police to help us. Armenians call to action. This should go viral. Hate crimes are not ok against any group(s) of people. My family lies here. Please protect this sacred and holy place. Let us know what can be done. I agree with both of the other comments.

  4. Why are Armenians so naive… The perpetrator of the incident is clear… Intimidation,
    Have you got it now?
    pure I am ?

  5. The most important Armenian cemetery outside Armenia has been attacked six times since January and the saboteurs have still not been identified and arrested! And why on earth is the cemetery not guarded, fenced off and cameras not installed? It is more than obvious that these attacks are hate crimes against Armenians and I strongly believe the perpetrators are Turks/Azeris. What the hell is the police doing? They are probably lazing around. If this was a Jewish cemetery, a synagogue or a Jewish school, the perpetrators would have been identified and arrested long ago. Law enforcement is hugely letting down its citizens and is destroying what little trust and assurance has been left.

  6. Dies ANCA western region condemn nikols stance on the Genocide? Does the ANCA western region condemn Nikol handing out territories?

    We expect silence from the treasonous AGBU, and the especially useless Armenian Bar Association…

  7. My maternal grandparents, aunts and uncles are all buried at Fresno Ararat Cemetery. A little shocked when I first heard about it.

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