Last Thursday the Turkish Kebab House restaurant located on Beersbridge Road, Belfast was attacked with anti-Islamic graffiti. The incident occurred between 12:00 and 7:30 am, police said.
The aggression was considered as a hate crime motivated by racism for what the police are already investigating. Andy Allen, MLA of East Belfast and a member of the UUP Assembly, condemned the incident as a “deplorable attack” and said those responsible are not representative of the broad East Belfast community. In addition they requested contact with the PSNI if they saw something suspicious in the area or have information about it.
John Kyle, a PUP councilor, said graffiti was particularly disappointing considering the progress made in terms of integrating new members and residents of different ethnic backgrounds. He added that racism damages communities because it shows mistrust and fear, so it must be eliminated at all times.
Already the previous week, other Islamophobic graffiti had been found in several other neighborhoods, which included “Rise Against Islam” and “F ** k Islam” which have been classified by the police as racially aggravated criminal damages.
The marks were removed the day after they were made and even residents of the neighborhood began to remove the graffiti even before the cleaning teams of the authorities arrived. Counselors from the different attacked neighborhoods were enthusiastic about the community response and mentioned that the removal of offensive graffiti is a priority.
Additionally, the Devon and Cornwall police have been promoting the “Zero Hate Crime” campaign as they consider it to be unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
This type of racist graffiti not only interferes with the harmony of a community but also infuses fear in its members and causes an increase in the probability of new attacks being perpetuated. This is why it is extremely important to remove graffiti of this nature as soon as possible to ensure that calm is restored and new attacks are avoided.