'This is not our Norwich' - Vigil held after spate of racist graffiti

Abigail Nicholson

A group of campaigners teamed up with Stand Up To Racism to hold a short vigil outside of the Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue, which was vandalised last week. - Credit: Abigail Nicholson

More than a dozen people gathered outside a synagogue that was graffitied with a swastika to demonstrate that "racism never wins".

Abigail Nicholson

A group of campaigners teamed up with Stand Up To Racism to hold a short vigil outside of the Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue, which was vandalised last week. - Credit: Abigail Nicholson

A group of campaigners teamed up with Stand Up To Racism to hold a short vigil outside of the Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue, which was vandalised last week.

Graffiti of a swastika was sprayed onto the door of the Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue on Essex Street in Norwich at some time between 4pm on Thursday, May 13 and 7.30am on Friday, May 14.

Abigail Nicholson

Chelsea Hishon, Morgan Devenney, and baby Cillian showing their support at the Synagogue - Credit: Abigail Nicholson

Demonstrators included Lesley Grahame, the Green Party member for Thorpe Hamlet, and baby Cillian, who was on his first protest.

Rabbi Binyamin Sheldrake, who has lived in Norwich for 30 years, said: "We are really pleased that people have turned up to support the synagogue and it sends the message that this is not the Norwich that we live in and that we want it to be.

Abigail Nicholson

Rabbi Binyamin Sheldrake, who has lived in Norwich for 30 years - Credit: Abigail Nicholson

"It's a tragedy that in 2021 that we are still dealing with that level of hate crime and hatred against people whose faith or religion is different."

It comes in a spate of racist graffiti in the city, including anti-Islamic graffiti being sprayed in yellow paint onto the pavement close to Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre on Aylsham Road, on Saturday, May 15.

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Police are now also investigating a Jewish Star of David which was graffitied outside a mental health support centre on Unthank Road, identifying it as a business with Jewish staff members.

Abigail Nicholson

Police are now also investigating a Jewish Star of David which was graffitied outside a mental health support centre on Unthank Road, identifying it as a business with Jewish staff members. - Credit: The Village Orchard CIC

Speaking on the incident at Norwich Central Mosque, Mr Sheldrake said: "We feel the pain, and we share that. Our support is there for them in the sense that this is not acceptable.

The Village Orchard CIC

Police are now also investigating a Jewish Star of David which was graffitied outside a mental health support centre on Unthank Road, identifying it as a business with Jewish staff members. - Credit: The Village Orchard CIC

"Nobody should have that amount of hatred towards someone else.

"What's happening in the Middle East has clearly sparked off this row of violence and aggression around the world and seems to be a trigger point.

Abigail Nicholson

A group of campaigners teamed up with Stand Up To Racism to hold a short vigil outside of the Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue, which was vandalised last week. - Credit: Abigail Nicholson

"Racism is a sin against God, as well as a crime. No matter what colour skin we have we are human and therefore to attack someone else because they are different from who you are is a sin."

Abigail Nicholson

A group of campaigners teamed up with Stand Up To Racism to hold a short vigil outside of the Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue, which was vandalised last week. - Credit: Abigail Nicholson

Police are asking to hear from anyone with information to contact PC Sarah Royall at Earlham police station on 101, quoting crime reference number 36/32735/21.

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