Saturday, February 25, 2012
Jerusalem Church Defaced with Hateful Graffiti
By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
(ANS) -- Unknown assailants spray painted blasphemous graffiti on a church building that's home to several Christian congregations in downtown Jerusalem, according to Julie Stahl, CBN News Mideast Correspondent.
Stahl says the vandalism, which could be part of an ongoing campaign against non-Jewish religious sites, led to a show of goodwill by neighbors and others. Stahl reports that vandals sprayed messages of hate -- slurs against Jesus including, "We'll crucify you" and "Death to Christianity" -- in Hebrew on the walls of the Baptist House.
"It's not just defacing, there's a message there," Dr. Al Nucciarone, senior pastor of the Jerusalem Baptist Church, told CBN News.
"Obviously people don't like Christians being here and don't like Jesus or don't respect Jesus for sure," he said.
Stahl reports that it's not the first time the Baptist House has been attacked. In 2007, vandals broke into the sanctuary and torched chairs and hymnals. In 1982, arsonists burned the original wooden building to the ground.
But, she says, the latest incident brought out the best in the neighborhood.
"We're sad there are extremists who would take things into their own hands like this, but we're also heartened by the outpouring of sympathy from neighbors and people of goodwill, whom I believe are the majority," Charles Kopp, senior pastor of the Narkis Street Congregation, told CBN News.
"People are very sympathetic when something like this happens," Pastor Nucciarone said.
"We'll get a lot of support. Even my friend Barry, [he's] Jewish, came with his rabbi from the conservative synagogue in Arnona because they heard about it and they were quite disgusted about what happened and even wanted to call the mayor's religious affairs person," he said.
Stahl reports that police are investigating whether the vandalism is connected to earlier attacks this month on a Jerusalem monastery and mosque.
In her report, Stahl says Dr. Mordechai Zaken, head of the Ministry of Public Security's Desk of Minority Affairs, paid a solidarity visit.
"I'm here to show my support, my solidarity, my friendship, not only me. I think I represent the overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens," Zaken said.
He also pointed out that this kind of incident wouldn't have garnered such press coverage 10 years ago.
"It also shows Israeli society is more tuned [in], more careful about this kind of thing…so we are progressing, slowly but surely," he said.
You can see a video about this incident online at: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/insideisrael/2012/February/Jerusalem-Church-Defaced-with-Hateful-Graffiti/
|** Michael Ireland is the Senior International Correspondent for ANS. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can make a donation online under 'Donate' tab, then look for 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' under 'Donation Category' to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.' Michael is a member in good standing of the National Writers Union, Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Newswriters Association, Evangelical Press Association and International Press Association. If you have a news or feature story idea for Michael, please contact him at: ANS Senior International Reporter
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