Baby Jesus beheaded in Ilford

The figures were installed underneath the Christmas Tree. Picture BPCA

The figures were installed underneath the Christmas Tree. Picture BPCA - Credit: Archant

Baby Jesus has been beheaded in Ilford.

A nativity scene has been “destroyed by idiots” outside the Christmas tree in the High Road.

The statues were installed and paid for by the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) to remind residents about the real meaning of Christmas and while the Virgin Mary and Joseph were smashed, the infant Jesus got decapitated.

One resident, who is not religious, reported the crime to the Recorder and described the incident as “religious desecration”.

“It is three days before Christmas and this happens,” she said.

“Any other religion and there would be an outcry and it would have been fixed already.

“It is a desecration of a religious icon - I am disgusted.”

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She reported the incident to Redbridge Town Hall but claims they refused to deal with it as it was not their nativity scene and were about to go to lunch.

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association said he is shocked that someone would do this and all his organisation wanted to do was install a reminder in the town centre about the true meaning of Christmas amidst all the commercialism.

“Unfortunately we will not be able to get another one in time for Christmas but we won’t be stopped by some idiots,” he said.

“We will come back next year and do an even bigger one.

“Jesus himself was persecuted and killed by haters but he rose again and BPCA will replace the Nativity next year and this temporary setback will be forgotten.”

Mr Chowdhry said he hopes the council will provide a safer location for the nativity scene in 2019.

“The entrance to the main council building is a perfect location and it is a shame it was not offered this year,” he added.

“As an Ilford Recorder poll suggested last year that the majority of local people desire a Nativity, use of the entrance should be given a priority.

“In the meantime I apologise to people of the borough for the devastation of the figurines which must have disturbed many.

His 14-year-old daughter, Hannah said she was saddened that the scene had been smashed and the perpetrators might have “destroyed our nativity but not our Christmas”.

“I was so excited to be introducing the figurines for only the second year,” she said.

“There are obviously spiteful people in our borough who gain a sense of joy from destruction.”

Leader of the council, Councillor Jas Athwal said the incident was sad and he will not let “mindless people ruin the nativity”.

“If we have to have it protected in the future then we will do it,” he said.

“One thing I love about Redbridge is the diversity and living together and this year I had the privilege of going Eid celebrations, Chanukah, Vaisakhi and last week I went to a church for Christmas.

“We want to be making sure that all religions are living here peacefully.”

Anyone with information about the incident should call police on 101.