The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the vandalism of more than 30 Christian gravestones as “blasphemous”.
Most Rev Justin Welby, responding to the news that the graves were vandalised at the Protestant Cemetery on Mount Zion, Jerusalem, condemned the “desecration” carried out and said he hoped those responsible would be swiftly brought to justice.
The head of the Church of England said in a statement released today: “The desecration of Christian graves in Jerusalem is a blasphemous act. I join the Chief Rabbi and religious leaders in Jerusalem in condemning it and hope those responsible will be brought swiftly to justice. As we continue to pray for peace in the Holy Land, I stand with Archbishop Hosam Naoum and other Jerusalem church leaders in calling for respect, protection, equality and justice for its Christian community – who are the Living Stones of the church”.
Although Israeli Police have yet to make any arrests, CCTV footage clearly shows two young men breaking off chunks of marble and throwing it at gravestones at the cemetery at The Jerusalem University College.
Chief Rabbi Mirvis described the vandalism as a “disgraceful desecration for which I hope the perpetrators will be found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.
The former Bishop of Jerusalem, Samuel Gobat, is just one of many Christian figures who is buried there. There are also British Commonwealth War graves, as well as first and second world war graves.
The Archbishop and other senior Christian leaders have spoken out before condemning what they say is increasing violence against Christians in Jerusalem, who have become "the target of frequent and sustained attacks by fringe radical groups".