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Bishop condemns 'shameful' destruction of Jewish graves

Mon 29 Aug 2016
By Marcus Jones

A Catholic bishop has expressed shame over the destruction of 13 Jewish graves in Belfast.

According to local councillors, youths using hammers and blocks were behind the attack at the City Cemetery off the Falls Road on Friday.

Bishop Noel Treanor said: "These shameful acts are a blemish on our society."

"What a tragedy and blemish then that the long-present, beloved and treasured Jewish families of our community should suffer yet again such actions of disrespect, violence to the memory of their beloved dead and the regrettable outworking of a latent xenophobia that stalks the minds of some."

He's urging society to address racism and xenophobia.

Speaking at St Peter's Cathedral in Belfast, the Bishop Noel said: "As a society, as neighbourhoods and communities, we must honestly consider if we harbour attitudes that are negative to those whom we too easily classify as 'foreigner', rather than see them as sisters and brothers in Christ and in humanity.

"As a society, we need to build co-operation between our homes and schools to ensure that our children are educated in heart and attitude, in mind and action, to respect every person without exception.

"As we build here in Northern Ireland a society fit and able to accommodate the contemporary reality of the mobility of peoples, willing to cherish the multi-cultural and multi-faith mosaic that is every contemporary society generally and in its most local communities and neighbourhoods, there can be no compromise on these imperatives to build minds and hearts that are open to, respectful of and treasure diversity."

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