Police treat ‘Nazi’ slur as hate crime

Graffiti was sprayed on a pro-Israel mural in north Belfast
Graffiti was sprayed on a pro-Israel mural in north Belfast

Vandals who defaced a Belfast memorial recognising the contribution of Jewish soldiers in the World Wars have been branded “gutless cowards” by a Christian pastor.

Police are treating the attack on the mural as a hate crime.

The words ‘scum’ and ‘Nazis’ were sprayed on the memorial at the junction of Beverley Street and Northumberland Street sometime between Thursday evening and the early hours of Friday morning.

The mural honours the life of Lt-Col John Henry Patterson, an Irish officer from who established the first Jewish fighting formation in the British Army during World War One.

Pastor Paul Burns, of the Adullam Christian Fellowship, Belfast, told the News Letter he believed the attack was “anti-Semitic”.

He added: “This is the second time this mural has been vandalised.

“This happened in the middle of the night and was carried out by gutless cowards who just want to raise tensions in the area.”

North Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey also condemned the incident and said: “I’m applied that sick, evil people have sprayed grossly offensive anti-Semitic graffiti on a pro-Israel mural.

“Those responsible are not reflective of Belfast and having nothing to offer our society or this city.

“Belfast is an increasingly diverse city. Our small but growing Jewish community is the oldest and much valued minority community in the city.

“The Jewish community has and continues to make an important contribution to the religious, cultural, commercial and business life of Belfast.”