Editor's Viewpoint: Bigots continue to be a blot on society
It is dispiriting that 21 years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement - an accord meant to herald a more inclusive and peaceful society in Northern Ireland - that sectarian attacks like the one in east Belfast at the weekend can still continue.
A woman has bravely spoken out about how she is considering leaving her home of 11 years because of the thugs who attacked the family's car, causing severe damage as it sat parked outside the property.
This followed the destruction of another vehicle by arson five years ago at the same house.
As far as this woman is concerned, the reason for the attack is that her family can best be described as a cross-community one. What possible problem could she, her husband and three children, two of them not even teenagers, cause to the community in which they live?
Yet some people - they are always cowardly, faceless thugs operating in the dead of night - decided that they deserved to have their property severely damaged. The man of the house suffers from a medical condition which means he needs a vehicle to get about, but is now left without his car until the insurance claim is sorted out.
An increasing number of mixed marriages now occur here.
It is estimated that some 10% of the 8,300 marriages conducted annually involve spouses of different religions.
That is an indication that love, for some people, knows no boundaries. The building of shared housing schemes has also helped create environments in which some people feel safer.
In days gone past the main obstacle to mixed marriages came from the families of the couples involved and their churches, and anyone who reads publications from the NI Mixed Marriage Association will be shocked at the depth and longevity of the anger from families towards members who dared to cross community boundaries.
Neighbours have urged that family who were attacked at the weekend to defy the bigots and remain in their home, but while undoubtedly they are sincere, it is obvious that they cannot protect the family or their belongings.
These two attacks have left the family deeply distressed and anyone with information about the culprits should give it to the PSNI.
This was a repellent crime and those responsible are a blot on our society and should face justice.