Fourteen headstones at a Jewish cemetery in the British city of Manchester were vandalized in an apparent anti-Semitic act. The headstones were smashed on Wednesday in Charlestown, a ward in northeastern Manchester.
“This is a sickening act of antisemitism which we are taking very seriously. I believe this was a deliberate and targeted attack and there is no place for such abhorrent behavior in our communities,” said Chief Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry of the Greater Manchester Police’s north Manchester division, reported The Guardian.
“All decent members of the public recognize that a cemetery is supposed to be a resting place for people who have passed away, a place of sanctity and dignity where families can come and pay their respects. So to have those graves desecrated in such a disgusting and disrespectful way will no doubt cause immeasurable anguish to the families and loved ones affected,” Chaudhry added.
Stephen Wilson, the administrator of the North Manchester Jewish Cemeteries Trust, reported the vandalism to authorities and said he is “dismayed” at the incident. At the same time, he is not sure the act was motivated by anti-Semitism, especially because vandals have targeted the same cemetery before.
“I met with the police this morning with the Community Security Trust (a non-profit dedicated to protecting U.K. Jewish communities). I know the police have put a statement out treating it as a hate crime—our view is it’s just pure vandalism. It’s my guess. Locals come over the wall, you always find drink cans over here, they’ve been in that frame of mind and they’ve done it for the sheer hell and fun of it,” Wilson said.