Vigil at Manchester cemetery after Muslim graves damaged

A vigil is to be held at Manchester’s Southern Cemetery after Muslim graves were desecrated for the third time in two months. The Unite Against Fascism peace vigil is due to take place at the cemetery on Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton at 1400 GMT.

Police are treating the latest attack, which happened between 20 and 23 November and left about 20 graves damaged, as racially-motivated. Headstones were also damaged on 29 September and again three days later.

Mark Krantz, from the Chorlton Unite Against Fascism group, said: “This attack is designed to hurt the living. It is meant to bring hurt, hatred, and division. Our response will be to build unity and solidarity.”

Rev Sarah Brewerton, from Chorlton Central Church, added that she hoped the vigil would show a united front against racism. “When you go to visit loved ones at a grave you are already in a distressed state. Even worse to then find the desecration,” she said. “We’re hoping to gain some act of solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters in the community here in Manchester, but also as a statement that this is totally unacceptable behaviour.”

BBC News, 29 November 2009