UK Police are apparently investigating an incident in which a delivery-driver was caught on a security camera ripping down a cross as he delivered curry to a customer’s home.
The victim in question is one Georgia Savva, a Greek Orthodox woman who lives with her family in the Southgate district of London. One morning several days ago, she noticed that her Palm Sunday cross had been ripped from the exterior wall of her home, torn into pieces, and thrown onto her doormat. The cross had apparently been hanging by her front door for close to a decade,
Savva asked her two children to look back through the footage captured by the family’s security cameras. When they did so, they discovered that the perpetrator was a driver for Romna Gate Tandoori, a local Bangladeshi curry restaurant.
The footage shows the driver walking up the family’s door, inspecting the cross, and then ripping it from the wall and smashing it to the ground. Then, only moments afterwards, he can be seen smiling at Savva’s teenage son as he answers the door. The driver hands off the bag of food, collects a tip, and goes on his way.
Mrs Savva told interviewers in the UK that she now feels foolish for having eaten at the restaurant for so many years. Savva told reporters that her family spent thousands of pounds at the Romna Gate Tandoori, and were loyal customers.
Savva has reported the incident to police as a hate crime. (That’s a thing, in the UK, and that knife cuts both ways. Sure, you can’t smash somebody’s cross. But you likely can’t get away with burning a Koran, either. UK hate crime laws are quite strict.)
“There is no way I’m going to let my children think that sort of behaviour is OK. If I can prosecute, I will,” Savva said. Really living out that command to “turn the other cheek”, huh? But I guess you can’t blame the woman for being horrified and offended.
According to Georgia Savva’s version of events, the family ordered takeout from the restaurant and it was delivered at 11pm on Monday. Mrs Savva, who works in finance in London said: “When I left in the morning I saw the cross ripped up on the floor. I thought, ‘That couldn’t be a fox.’
No. No, it couldn’t be a fox, because foxes do not have opposable thumbs, or discernible opinions on issues of theology.
But Savva continued: “My son looked at the CCTV and called me up at work to say it was the delivery driver. I couldn’t believe it. It [the cross] was heavy-duty, nailed down, I’ve had it for eight years since I moved in. He had to yank it hard twice to rip it out. Then when he answered the door to my son he was really cheerful, and said, ‘Hello sir,’ he got a good tip.”
That’s what really makes this all so awful. Not that England’s capacity to hold together as a single cultural unit is crumbling before our very eyes. Not that the United Kingdom is becoming such a spiritual wasteland that a cross can be torn down by a Bangladeshi curry-carrier. No, it’s that the guy could destroy a piece of their property and still have the balls to take a nice tip afterwards. The horror!
Savva continued her story with a description of her response to the attack on her home and her faith. “I was fuming and went straight to them after work. They just smiled and told me to leave a number. My daughter who is only a teenager says she doesn’t want to answer the door to someone harboring hate like that, and she’s quite right. There is no place for this hate in London.”
And yet, there are something like 460 mosques in London. It seems that, quite to the contrary, there are hundreds of places for such hate in London.
After Mrs. Savva went in and made a fuss, the Romna Gate restaurant took its time sending her a written apology. After several days, the restaurant issued a statement on its Facebook page. The statement includes an excuse for the restaurants slow response: Ramadan.
“This incident occurred at approximately 10pm on Monday 11th June 2018. Due to the month of Ramadan, the management has limited hours of operation between 6pm to 10pm on weekdays.” Sure, folks. Because blaming your holy festival for your slow response to an outrageous anti-Christian act by one of your staff is really going to engender sympathy for you.
The statement continues: “We sincerely apologise for the actions of this employee… we have taken immediate action to suspend the driver in question pending further investigation… We wish to make it clear that the delivery man … does not represent the views of the family, ownership, management, front or backroom staff or … Bangladeshi community.”
And yet, how many similar incidents have occurred all across the world? In Bangladesh, does anyone really believe an artifact of Christian faith would not be immediately torn down if it were openly displayed on the walls of a home?
The UK is a place that allows religious plurality; Bangladesh is not. That’s what makes this incident a “crime”. Had it occurred in Bangladesh, well. It would hardly be newsworthy at all.
In fact, had this incident occurred in Bangladesh, we’d be hearing a different story. Instead of hearing about how a family had their little crucifix shattered by a rude driver, we’d be hearing a story about how a family had their crucifix shattered first, and then their house burned down around them second.
That’s the reality of being a Christian in a country that is run by Muslims. So while having your icon of faith destroyed, by comparison, is still unfortunate, it could be a lot worse.