Monday, March 17, 2008

A Suspected Faith Hate Crime

Canon Michael Ainsworth, 57, an Anglican priest, went outside his church, St George-in-the-East Church in Tower Hamlets in eastern London, around 7 PM on March 5th to ask some "Asian youths" to quiet down. "Asian youths" is the British euphemism for Southwest Asian Muslims. A large Bangladeshi Muslim immigrant commmunity has settled around the 18th century church.

Seeing his clerical collar, the Muslim gangsters beat the hell out of him, shouting, "FUCKING PRIEST!" Two of them punched and kicked the vicar, inflicting cuts and bruises upon him and two black eyes.

There was blood everywhere,” said a parishioner. “All the church members are in shock over what happened. Our canon is such a nice man who has done so much for the parish. It’s been very upsetting.”

Canon Ainsworth was treated at the hospital and released but needed to be readmitted a week later because of his nose injuries. He remains in the hospital.

The local Muslim kids have made a habit of smashing the windows of St George-in-the-East Church, shouting, "This should not be a church, this should be a mosque." They've also taken to vandalizing the gravestones in nearby St Dunstan's Church in Stepney. When National Churchwatch surveyed London clergy, almost half said they had been attacked within the last year. National Churchwatch recommends as a security precaution that vicars should not wear their collars in public.
The vicar's wife, Janina Ainsworth, also an Anglican priest, has taken over services for her husband. She brushes aside any suggestion of religious bigotry:

"Quite clearly there are mindless individuals in every community, quite often under the influence of drink or drugs, that engage in random acts of violence. The community organisations here are very shocked. ... We have had very strong messages of support from East London mosque and Tower Hamlets mosque."
Mrs. Ainsworth insists that interfaith relationships with Muslims are good. If you set aside her husband's beating, the regular vandalism to her church by Muslims shouting their bigotry, and their defilement of Christian graves, I suppose you can see her point.

Scotland Yard, unfortunately, is not so enlightened as Mrs. Ainsworth. They're treating the attack as a suspected faith hate crime. I suspect they're right.

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