Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mindless Violence, Says Wife of Injured Canon; Support: Janina Ainsworth Took the Palm Sunday Service in Shadwell Yesterday

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mindless Violence, Says Wife of Injured Canon; Support: Janina Ainsworth Took the Palm Sunday Service in Shadwell Yesterday

Article excerpt

Byline: LUCY HANBURY

THE WIFE of a clergyman beaten up in his churchyard in a suspected"faithhate" crime has spoken of the shock felt by his congregation.

Canon Michael Ainsworth, 57, was set upon by three Asian youths shoutinganti-Christian abuse when he confronted them for rowdy behaviour outside StGeorge-in-the-East church in Shadwell, leaving him with two black eyes and cutsand bruises.

His wife, Janina Ainsworth, 56, took Palm Sunday services yesterday after CanonAinsworth was re-admitted to hospital for his injuries. She said: "It isobvious that it does contain a religious element.

"Quite clearly, there are mindless individuals in every community under theinfluence of drink and drugs who will engage in random acts of violence.

But we're very shocked." She said her husband was expected home to the rectorynext to the church in Cannon Street Road tonight.

"We do know that churchyards have been quite vulnerable places so we are goingto be working with the church, the police and the local council to look atsecurity," she added.

"Normally community relations here are very good. We have had very strongmessages of support from the East London Mosque and Tower Hamlets Mosque withwhom we've got good relations.

"Clearly the Muslim community is very shocked. These individuals were under theinfluence and this was a random act." The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev RichardChartres, said clergymen who were part of the community were "vulnerable" toattacks.

"Over the years we've had murders, we've had assaults on clergy," he said.

"Therefore we have over the past few years been beefing up our security andoperations.

"But of course if you go out into the streets, if you belong to the community,if you're a part of it, then you are vulnerable." Mrs Ainsworth faced a fearfulcongregation yesterday who said rising tensions in the area had led up to theattack on 5 March, the second time the church has been targeted after a GoodFriday attack last year in which youths threw bricks through the windows. …

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