10 Jewish Graves Damaged in Suspected Hate Crime at Cemetery in Northern Ireland
A hate crime investigation has been launched by police in Belfast after ten Jewish gravestones were damaged by vandals in the Northern Irish capital on Thursday night.
The incident, which police described as “appalling,” took place in the Jewish section of the City Cemetery in west Belfast.
Pictures from the scene show a number of toppled and shattered gravestones.
Belfast City Councilor Steven Corr, of the Sinn Fein Party, said this marked only the latest in a series of vandalism incidents at the cemetery.
“These unbelievable attacks on the headstones of dead people need to stop,” he commented.
William Humphrey — a Democratic Unionist Party member of Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly representing North Belfast — said, “This is a very sad day for Belfast. I have nothing but the highest regard for the Belfast Jewish community, which continues to have my full support.”
“”Those behind this appalling anti-Semitic attack are evil,” he added. “A graveyard is a sacred place and should be respected as such. Those responsible are guilty of a most heinous hate crime.”
A spokesperson for the Belfast City Council, which operates the cemetery, said the council was working with police and taking steps to “try to address issues of anti-social behavior and vandalism at City Cemetery.”
In 2016, a similar occurrence took place at the same cemetery, with 13 Jewish graves being damaged.
A small Jewish community has long existed in Belfast. The current Jewish population of the city is estimated to be less than 100 people.