A large Christian cross monument on the Greek island of Lesbos has been leveled to the ground after a group claiming to promote “intercultural co-existence” argued that the cross offends Muslim refugees arriving on the island by boat, according to European reports.
The ancient Greek island of Lesbos is today best known as a landing point for African and Muslim migrants arriving by boat and the problems and conflicts that have arisen in connection with the European migrant crisis.
The cross monument was built by Christians on the cliffs of Apellia, beneath the castle of Mytilene, in memory of people who have died in the sea. According to the liberal activist group, however, the cross sent the wrong message to arriving Muslims:
“Muslims escaping persecution in their homelands do not deserve to be greeted with the symbol of the crusades and Western cultural chauvinism when they arrive on European soil for the first time. Many of these refugees are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the sight of the cross could further exacerbate their symptoms.”
The local newspaper on the island reports that the liberal activist group has also received support from some aid organizations that expressed similar negative opinions about the Christian cross monument.
A letter was sent to the Lesbos’ port authority and mayor, in which the co-existence group falsely claimed that the cross was placed there to prevent migrants from swimming to shore.
The letter also stated that the creators of the monument were “aspiring crusaders” with racist and intolerant motives who abused the Christian cross, which should be a symbol of love and sacrifice. And they therefore called for the monument to be demolished.
And that is exactly what happened. Just a few days later, at night, the whole monument was levelled to the ground, without the consultation of the island’s Christian community. The demolished remains of the cross remain as rubble on the site.
The attack by the liberal activist group on the monument and the island’s Christian history has aroused strong reactions in large parts of the local population who believe that the underhand deed goes against the Christian religious beliefs shared by a majority of the inhabitants of Lesbos.