Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Baby Jesus statue ‘BEHEADED’:

THE statue of baby Jesus part of a Christmas nativity scene has suffered a brutal ISIS-style ‘beheading’, a vile act branded a “devastating blow” by the head of a local Christian community.

Ilford Town Centre, part of ’s Redbridge borough, became the theatre of “hate crime” just three days before . Members of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) installed the statues worth £800 under a Christmas tree after two years ago a group of residents called for “bringing back baby Jesus” to the city centre.

 But the holiday display, which was meant to be on show until January, was found destroyed by a resident, who was shocked at the sight. 

She told the Ilford Recorder: “It is three days before Christmas and this happens.
“Any other  and there would be an outcry and it would have been fixed already.
“It is a desecration of a religious icon - I am disgusted.”
On top of the beheaded baby Jesus, the woman found the statues of the Virgin Mary and Joseph smashed.
The head of the BPCA, Wilson Chowdhry, opened up on the disbelief and sadness that hit him when he was made aware of the event. 
He said: "It is stunning that someone would do this when the intent of the project was to install a reminder in the town centre about the true meaning of Christmas to sit in contrast with all the commercialism.
“I was so excited to be introducing the figurines for only the second year.
“This spiteful act has ruined our nativity, but it cannot destroy the message of Christmas.
“Jesus came to show people God's love."
The return of the nativity display in the city centre was welcomed by most people in Ilford, as shown by a poll carried out by local newspaper Ilford Recorder.
Mr Chowdhry said: “As an Ilford Recorder poll suggested last year that the majority of local people desire a nativity, use of the entrance should be given a priority.
"The loss of our nativity which had cost us £800 is a devastating blow but we will put every effort into bringing one back for 2019 despite this setback."
The BPCA head explained the idea of bringing the nativity back to Ilford Town Centre sparked from his association, but was immediately backed by donors from a many religious groups, including Christians, Hindus and Muslims.
Mr Chowdhry added: "The symbol of the nativity is a pressing message to all of us, irrespective of our backgrounds to offer care and support to the most vulnerable in our communities."
The destruction of the nativity has been complained about to the police twice, said Mr Chowdhry.
The BPCA head believes the police didn’t take appropriate action to find who carried out the destruction and failed to understand the concern it raised among the Christian community. 
As a consequence, he demanded the police would treat this case as a hate crime.
He said: "At first I did not take any direct action myself as a crime had already been recorded and a call for evidence was placed in the Ilford Recorder.  
“When I received a call from several local Christian leaders asking me to register the crime as a hate crime, I realised the extent of hurt the vandalism has caused.”
But police said the action is being treated as criminal damage and not as hate crime.
A police spokeswoman told Express.co.uk: “Police received a report of criminal damage after a number of figures from a nativity scene were damaged in High Road, Ilford.
“The damage occurred around December 21 and 22. 
london news christmas nativity ilford town centre Redbridge
The statues of the Virgin Mary and Joseph were also destroyed by vandals (Image: GETTY)
“No arrests have been made. Enquiries continue.”
Leader of Redbridge Council Cllr Jas Athwal said to the Ilford Recorder Newspaper that the incident was "sad" and he will not let “mindless people ruin the nativity”.
He said: “If we have to have it protected in the future then we will do it.
“One thing I love about Redbridge is the diversity and living together and this year I had the privilege of going Eid celebrations, Chanukah, Vaisakhi and last week I went to a church for Christmas.
“We want to be making sure that all religions are living here peacefully.”
A Redbridge council spokesperson said to the Wanstead and Woodford Guardian: "We were very disappointed to hear about this act of vandalism which we deplore.
“We take matters like this seriously and do not tolerate vandalism of any kind in Redbridge.
“The council will continue to work closely with the police during their investigation and we urge anyone with information to contact them on non-emergency number 101.”

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