A shocking attack has taken place in the Jewish cemetery on Rochdale Road, Blackley, North Manchester. Vandals knocked over nearly 70 matzei vos, smashing and damaging them, and spraying swastikas and other racist graffiti on other graves. The damage was discovered on Monday afternoon, and it is believed that it took place between 4 p.m. on Sunday and 3:30 p.m. on Monday.
Greater Manchester’s Po lice and Crime Commis sioner Tony Lloyd condemned the attack, saying, “All right-thinking people will find this incomprehensible. The desecration of any grave goes against all of the values of decency that our society is based on. It is a violation which has been motivated by hatred; it is the ultimate act of disrespect.
“We all join with the Jewish community to express our outrage, and our solidarity.
“This vile crime cannot go unpunished. If anyone has any information about this ap pall ing act, they have a duty to go to police.
“Both GMP and I will be working with the Jewish communities in the coming days to reassure them not just that police are taking action but also that the wider community stands shoulder to shoulder with them.”
Inspector Mike Reid, of GMP’s integrated neighborhood policing team, described the incident as “a sickening and cruel act of racism.” Speaking to the Manches ter Evening News, Inspector Reid said, “The vandalism of a gravestone is, in itself, a sickening act, but to violate the memory of those resting in the cemetery still further by daubing racial slurs on the graves is truly repulsive.
“I cannot begin to get into the mind of someone who would commit such an atrocity. I know this will cause a lot of anxiety and distress in the local community, and we as police officers share that distress.
“I want to stress to people who have loved ones buried here and live in this area that we will do everything we can to find out who is responsible and bring the full force of the law down on them.
“This has been recorded as a hate crime because of the clear racial motivation and, should we find those who committed this cowardly act, that will allow the courts to impose even harsher punishments.
“Extra patrols will be in the area in the coming days both to act as a visible deterrent and provide a visible presence for any concerned residents, and we will work with our partner agencies to investigate the matter.”
He urged anyone who might have any information about the attack to contact the police, saying “Think how you would feel if it was the grave of your loved one which was damaged.”