Church offers support after ‘sacrilegious’ synagogue attack

Jewish community left in shock

Bishop Noel Treanor has visited Belfast’s Jewish community in a show of solidarity in the wake of two anti-Semitic attacks on the local synagogue.

Window in the synagogue were smashed sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. It was replaced only to be broken again later on Saturday evening. Police say they are treating it as a “religious hate crime”.

Fr Edward McGee, a spokesman for Down and Connor Diocese told The Irish Catholic that Bishop Treanor has been in contact with Chief Rabbi David Singer and the bishop also visited the synagogue “to offer his support and encouragement following the sectarian attacks over the weekend”.

Fr McGee said that “such sectarian attacks on places of worship only serve to escalate tensions at a time of the year when every effort must be made by all citizens to promote respect and peace.

“All places of worship hold deep significance for their entire community and for their congregation and they should be respected rather than targeted,” he said.

It is suspected that the attack is linked to the current conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.


Local SDLP MLA Alban Maginness called the attack “sacrilegious”.

He claimed that “anti-Semitism and race hate will not be tolerated by the people of Belfast.”

Meanwhile in the same weekend a Catholic church in Antrim was the target of an arson attack.

The incident, believed to be sectarian, is reported to have taken place on Sunday around 1:30am at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Church in Newtownabbey.

The door of the church was doused in flammable liquid and set alight. However, while the door was scorched luckily there was no serious damage.

The church has previously been attacked by paint and even petrol bombs. This incident has also been treated as a hate crime by police.