A SYRIAN family have been targeted by racist attacks twice in three days.
The family have been living in Alexander Avenue, Armagh for over a year after fleeing war-torn Syria, but their troubles are not yet over.
Over the weekend the family were targeted with the words “LOCAL ONLY” sprayed in large black lettering across the front of their house, resulting in many people in the city rejecting the vile and racist rhetoric.
Friends were said to be lending their support to the shaken family after the upsetting incident.
Alliance representative for Armagh, Jackie Coade, spoke to local news outlet Armagh I and spoke of her disgust at the bullying, reiterating that Armagh is a friendly and welcoming place.
“I am appalled at this attack on a family who have been living in the city for over a year now without incident.
Understandably the family are very distressed and are being comforted by friends."
She went on, “There is no place for this type of behaviour in our society and this incident is in no way a reflection on the good people of Armagh and our city which is very open and welcoming.”
Making reference to the island of Ireland’s history of immigration and the hypocrisy of the “locals” who targeted the family, she said “For many years, people in northern Ireland have fled the conflict to pastures new in the hope of building a safe home and better life for their children. The people who did this should know better.”
Ms Coade thanked the PSNI for their “great empathy and compassion” when dealing with the incident.
Despite the community’s disgust at the act, the same family were again targeted in the early hours of Monday, August 12, according to Armagh I.
This time the windows of the family home were smashed in at around 1.40am as the residents slept, leading authorities to describe the incidents as hate crimes.
The man who targeted the house is described as being 5’5 and wearing a grey/white hoodie.
Armagh I again approached Ms Coade for comment and her response was one of frustration.
“I am appealing to whoever is doing this to please stop.
This family is traumatised enough. Please leave them alone. Whatever misplaced anger they have about lack of housing has nothing to do with this family.
They are in this country because they have had to flee their own. […] Please leave this family alone. They have done nothing wrong.”
The PSNI confirmed the nature of the investigation, saying “These incidents are being treated as racially motivated hate crimes.”
Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the Armagh Police station on 101.