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Rabbi's anger after Belfast Jewish mural defaced in hate attack

By Chris McCullough

A Rabbi has condemned an attack on a mural in Belfast dedicated to an Irish commander who led the Jewish Legion in the First World War.

Rabbi David Singer - whose grandfather fought under Lt Col John Henry Patterson - hit out after the slogan 'Nazi Scum' was sprayed on the painted at Northumberland Street.

Lt Col Patterson was born in 1867 in Co Longford, son of a Protestant father and Catholic mother.

He rose to fame by leading the Jewish Legion, the first Jewish fighting force in almost two millennia.

Rabbi Singer said: "These words sprayed on the memorial are a slur on the memory of Col Patterson who was a very courageous soldier.

"My grandfather actually served under Col Patterson in Palestine in 1917 in the Fusiliers.

"I feel very sorry for the narrow-minded people who defaced the memorial. It's pathetic, really. I hope the memorial can be cleaned up as soon as possible."

Police are treating the attack, which took place sometime between Thursday evening and the early hours of yesterday, as a hate crime.

DUP MLA William Humphrey said: "I'm appalled that sick, evil people have sprayed grossly offensive anti-Semitic graffiti on a pro-Israel mural in Northumberland Street.

"Those responsible are not reflective of Belfast and have 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."

Pastor Paul Burns from the Adullam Christian Fellowship Church said that the attack was a disgrace.

He said: "This is an attack on our Jewish friends who are very much part of the community in Belfast.

"It's not the first time this has happened, as the mural was attacked last year as well.

"My father had Jewish connections and I was brought up to respect both cultures.

"This mural also represents both communities in Northern Ireland. The commander in the mural was born to Protestant and Catholic parents."

Police want witnesses to contact them on 101 quoting reference 299 17/03/17 or via the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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