World Bulletin / News Desk
Between midnight Sunday and 7 a.m. (0300 and 1000GMT) the churches in two parishes in Halifax, Nova Scotia were targeted with identical graffiti.
“Nasty things, such as [expletive] Jesus, was spray-painted on our outdoor signs on both sides and also across the front door of our church the same words and also a hand giving the finger,” Father James Mallon of Saint Benedict Parish told the media.
Mallon did not believe it is a coincidence his church and St. Agnes Parish, a little more than a mile away (2 kilometers) were targeted Easter Sunday, which he called “the key moments of the whole Christian year.”
Church officials tried to scrub the worst of the graffiti before worshippers arrived for service Sunday.
Police were notified and will review security camera footage in the search for who is responsible, Mallon said.
Police did not immediately respond to media inquiries as to whether any other churches had been targeted.
The vandalism is the latest in a disturbing history of racism and bigotry in Halifax, a city of about 400,000, with Roman Catholics, the largest religious denomination at 121,400, as of 2011.
After years of repeated requests, the Halifax city council voted to remove a statue of Edward Cornwallis, the British military officer who founded the city in 1749.
Cornwallis had placed a bounty on the heads of the men, women and children of the Indigenous Mi’kmaw tribe.
There are 20,790 blacks in Halifax and 17,665 North American Aboriginals, according to 2011 Statistic Canada figures.
Racist and discriminatory behaviour is on the rise in schools, with 360 incidents in 2016-17, up from 327 the previous year.
And in February, Dalhousie University officials were stunned by “abhorrent” anti-black graffiti in the student union building.
“It’s important for us to acknowledge that as a university this is really an affront to everything that we stand for,” said university spokesman Brian Leadbetter.
Anadolu Agency reported last November the Dalhousie Student Union offered emergency hijab kits after reports of Muslim women on campus having had their head coverings yanked off and spit on.