Police are investigating an incident of vandalism that occurred in a parish in Norwood, Massachusetts where what appears to be the symbol for “Allah” and black paint was sprayed across a statue of the Blessed Mother.
The Boston Globe is reporting on the story of the vandalism which is believed to have taken place on Good Friday and involves a statue of Our Lady which stands outside the parish school at St. Catherine of Sienna parish in Norwood.
Even though no one is calling it a hate crime yet, the statue’s face and body were covered in black paint. Beneath the statue, under a plague that reads, “To Jesus Through Mary”, what appears to be the Muslim symbol for Allah was drawn.
Thus far, police have no suspects but are said to be “aggressively investigating” the incident.
“Personally, I think it’s a very sad thing to have happened, especially on Easter weekend,” said Paul A. Bishop, chairman of the Norwood Board of Selectmen. “It’s not just about Catholics — it’s disrespectful to all religions. The statue has been there for generations.”
The Rev. Stephen Donohoe, the pastor of St. Catherine, called the incident “a sad act of vandalism,” and asked parishioners to pray for the perpetrators of the crime.
“Please pray for the person or persons who did this.” Donohoe said in the statement, released Saturday by the Archdiocese of Boston. “We are reminded never to take the gift and treasure of our faith for granted but to live it and proclaim it every day.”
Parishioners were understandably shocked and outraged by the vandalism.
“It’s disrespectful to every religion,” Linda Curran, 73, told the Globe. “I just feel badly. Norwood really has many different houses of worship . . . many different cultures in the town, and there’s never been a problem.”
The media’s “politically correct” coverage of the incident has also come under fire in recent days. For instance, the above cited article in the Globe made no mention of the Muslim angle to the story and never explained what was actually written on the statute. Other media outlets either ignored the graffiti or declared the symbol to be “unidentified”.
It is unknown if the perpetrators were actually Muslim but if so, it is certainly curious that they would deface a statue of Mary who is revered by the followers of Islam.
In the meantime, parishioners wasted no time getting the statue cleaned up before Easter Sunday Masses. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, faint outlines of the paint still appear and Fr. Donohue says he will have to hire a specialist to either repair or restore the statue.
Anyone wishing to help the parish in this endeavor is asked to send their donations to St. Catherine of Siena Parish, 547 Washington St., Norwood, MA, 02062.
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