Belfast Telegraph

Anti-Isis graffiti sprayed on wall of Salvation Army church in Coleraine

By Angela Rainey

A church in Coleraine has been targeted by graffiti vandals for the second time in less than a year.

The Salvation Army church on the Ballycastle Road was defaced by spray-painting thugs on Easter Sunday, with the words "f*** ISIS" being daubed on the wall.

It is the second time that the church wall has been targeted.

Last September, "Refugees Not Welcome" was sprayed there in red paint.

Police investigated the first attack as a hate crime in the belief that the slogan expressed opposition to up 50 refugees being housed in the Co Londonderry town.

In response to the racist slur, a Salvation Army spokesman said at the time: "We are saddened by the vandalism of our church wall in Coleraine.

"We have reported the incident to the police and are in the process of having the graffiti removed.

"We welcome all people to our church and have a good relationship with the local community in which we serve."

The latest vandalism appalled local politicians, who came together to condemn those responsible.

MP for the area Gregory Campbell branded the graffiti disgraceful and said the vandalism was disrespectful to the community.

"It is abominable," the DUP representative added.

"Whoever is responsible should understand that any property that is being used as a place of worship in any town should not be defaced or used for slogans.

"Spraying profane slogans on a place of worship is disrespectful and not helpful to any member of the community. Hopefully it will be cleaned as soon as possible.

"Anyone with information on how it came to be there should hand it to the police."

The DUP man's views were echoed by local Ulster Unionist councillor William McCandless, who described the attack as going against the grain of Christianity.

"It is unfortunate that the Salvation Army church in Coleraine has been targeted again with graffiti concerning Islamic terrorists," he said.

"On Easter Sunday, the highlight of the Christian calendar when the theme is of sacrificial love, why write a message of hate?

"I would appeal for anyone who has knowledge of this attack on the church to report it to the PSNI."

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