Arsonists attacked St Peter’s Lutheran Church, Orange, in central western New South Wales, twice within three days.
In the first incident, overnight on 21 November, vandals threw what was believed to be a molotov cocktail through a window and painted the words ‘ISIS’ and ‘Allah Akbar’ on an outside wall of the church.
Police told local media that sometime overnight on 23 November two items containing a flammable liquid had been used to break windows at the church and had caused minor fire damage inside, while a third device was found outside the church.
Police were reported as saying they were not treating the first incident as terror-related and that no link had been established between the two attacks. However, the Local Area Command duty officer, Inspector Dave Harvey, told the Central Western Daily that police were still treating the incidents ‘very seriously’ and ‘investigating all possible lines of inquiry’.
LCA New South Wales District Bishop Mark Lieschke called on the broader church to keep the people of Orange in their prayers.
‘We’re saddened by the vandalism on the church, and can see no reason why it may have been targeted’, Bishop Lieschke said.
‘We certainly feel for the church members at Orange, and for the people of Orange in general, and pray that they might support each other at this time, and as a result grow closer together as a community.
‘Current world events can fuel all kinds of ideas as to why this might have happened, and bring fear into people’s lives. ‘Pray that our Lord’s peace will prevail, in Orange and throughout our troubled world.’
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