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Anti-Christian graffiti spray-painted on Dartmouth church

A side entrance to the SonLife Community Church in Dartmouth was defaced with an upside-down cross.
RYAN TAPLIN
A side entrance to the SonLife Community Church in Dartmouth was defaced with an upside-down cross. RYAN TAPLIN - The Chronicle Herald

A fourth area in Dartmouth has been tagged with offensive graffiti in the last 24 hours.

Upside-down crosses, often used as an anti-Christian symbol, were spray-painted on two doors at the SonLife Community Church on Windmill Road.

Police received a call about the graffiti Monday just after midnight, said a Halifax regional police release. There was no other graffiti found in the area.

Swastikas, a pentagram, “KKK,” and “hail Satan” were found around the Sullivan’s Pond area in Dartmouth on Sunday. The graffiti was on a bus shelter, grandstand floor, the Sullivan’s Pond sign and a memorial bench.

A swastika was also painted across the street on the door of Churchill Academy, a school for students with learning disabilities. Similar symbols were spraypainted on the back of Prince Andrew High School.

Const. John MacLeod said it’s too early in the investigation to know if the acts are related.

Martin Sampson, vice-president of communications for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said he doesn’t believe the swastikas are related to the high holidays.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is currently underway, with Yom Kippur to begin on Sept. 18.

“Jews remain the most targeted religious minority in Canada for hate crimes, including mischief crimes of this nature,” Sampson said from Ottawa in a phone interview.

“But the views that are expressed through these symbols and this graffiti are absolutely widely rejected by the vast majority of Canadians.”

The non-profit organization is not unfamiliar with these incidents, said Sampson, but these crimes don’t change the Jewish community’s security situation.

“A swastika on a bench in Halifax is not indicative of how the broader community, the vast majority of the community feel about the Jewish community,” Sampson said.

Claudia Chender, MLA for Dartmouth South, also voiced that the acts of graffiti do not reflect how the city feels.

“These symbols are appearing in our progressive, dynamic community is heartbreaking and clearly the act of an isolated few,” Chender said in a NDP news release Monday.

But that doesn’t make them acceptable, the MLA reiterated.

“My grandparents fled the Holocaust. To them, these symbols meant death,” said Chender.

Halifax regional municipality has been vandalized with similar messages in the past few months.

On June 17, someone spraypainted anti-religion and anarchist messages and symbols on statues and signs in Mount Olivet cemetery on Mumford Road.

St. Theresa’s Church on North Street in Halifax was also damaged the same night, with similar symbols found on the doors to the church.

In the early morning hours of June 20, two people spray-painted derogatory symbols on the exterior of the Rock Church on Sackville Drive in Lower Sackville.

Overnight leading up to Easter Sunday in April, vandals also spray-painted obscene words and drawings on St. Agnes Church in Halifax and Saint Benedict Church in Clayton Park.

With files from Ian Fairclough, The Chronicle Herald

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