Islamist vandals have attacked a church in southern Spain, damaging sacred objects and painting the word “Allah” on the walls.
The attack took place at the Church of Our Lady of Carmen in the town of Rincón de la Victoria near the city of Málaga on Monday morning. News agency EFE reports that the perpetrators smashed glasses, broke a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, damaged the sanctuary and spray painted Arabic writing on the walls.
— TvCofrade (@TvCofrade) November 2, 2015
La Guardia Civil toma huellas en la Parroquia de Torre de Benagalbón,que ayer sufrió un atentado hacia su patrimonio pic.twitter.com/O6kieeGFqd
— 101tv Málaga (@101tvMalaga) November 3, 2015
The damage was first discovered by parish priest Fr Agustín Carrasco, and is now being investigated by Spain’s Civil Guard.
The Diocese of Málaga has expressed its profound sadness at the destruction, but moved quickly to say it was an isolated act and not representative of the beliefs of all Muslims.
It issued a statement saying: “The Diocese is determined to continue dialogue and peaceful coexistence so that these acts, as well as the material and spiritual damage, do not produce a deterioration in dialogue based on respect and fraternity between different religious groups that nourish the Universal Church.”
This is the second time in just over a month that Christian symbols in the town have been targeted by Islamic extremists.
At the end of September, a 27-year-old Moroccan man was arrested after attempting to damage a statue of the Virgin Mary.
He reportedly hit a glass door protecting the statue with a large rock several times but could not shatter it. When police led him away he cried “Allahu Akhbar!” (“God is Great!” in Arabic).
Spain’s southern region of Andalusia has experienced high levels of Islamic immigration, largely from Morocco, in recent years.
The Gatestone Institute wrote in 2012 about how Islamists in the region are now calling for an “Andalusia Spring” to reclaim “occupied” Spain for Islam.
Andalusia was the last Islamic stronghold (Al-Andalus) in Western Europe before it was reconquered by the Christian Kingdom of Castile in 1492.