Arson in Parish's Sports Facilities; Graffiti Threatening Parish Priest

Country: Italy

Date of incident: May 26, 2018

Category: Social Hostility / Intolerance

Attack against: Faith

Area of case: Private

Around six o'clock in the morning of May 26th, unknown people set fire to the rooms of the secretariat in the sports center of the Maria Madre della Chiesa parish in Casazza, a Brescia neighborhood, completely destroying its interior. In addition, next to one of the rooms affected by the fire, curses and serious insults against the parish priest were written with a blue marker.

The firemen of Brescia intervened to extinguish the fire. In a small room, some empty gasoline cans were found, which were used to feed the sports field maintenance equipment.

"Nobody saw or heard anything," explained the members of the sports association. Someone forced the lock on the door of a warehouse and took some cans of gasoline. The belief is that those who acted knew what they were doing when they attacked the room containing the electrical panel of the entire sports structure. Further, those who started the fire knew where the keys of the changing rooms and offices were kept.

Among the hypotheses under scrutiny was the one that led to the protest against a project that in recent days has involved some refugees in the neighborhood. "I have never suffered threats. I do not know who could have made that" said Don Massimo, the parish priest. "I really cannot understand how the district's social development project could be connected to the fire." The hypothesis of an "act of resentment" on the part of some minors is not excluded either. "It is true that there have been some misunderstandings with some teenagers, but I do not want to think that this fire is a sign of revenge."

For the parish priest, "it is a very bad episode. For us, it is a great moral rather than material damage, and it is a hard blow for a parish that carries out socially useful actions in the neighborhood."

Sources: Il GiornoGiornale di Brescia and Giornale di Brescia