Published Sunday, 20 July 2014
The church has been attacked in the past. (© Pacemaker)
Sometime around 1.30am on Sunday, flammable liquid was poured on the front door of St Mary's Star of the Sea Church on the Shore Road in Newtownabbey.
The liquid was set alight causing scorch damage to the door.
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds condemned the attack as "appalling" and appealed for calm.
He said: "This is a senseless attack. Those who carried out this utterly appalling action only want to stir up tensions and cause offence.
"I hope everyone will be calm and there will not be a tit-for-tat response.
"I trust the police will fully investigate this act and anyone with information will assist them in their efforts," the DUP member said.
Places of worship should be respected. Everyone should treat another place of worship in the way they would like theirs to be treated.
MP Nigel Dodds
Alliance councillor Billy Webb said he was shocked at the latest attack on the church.
He said: "The church has been subject to a number of attacks and hasn't been for some time and I had thought things had quietened down.
"In the past it has been petrol bombed, attacked with paint and an actual device was left at the church.
"Those doing this really need to take a step back. This is just an attack on us all."
He added: "This church along with the others on the Shore Road work very closely together so I'm shocked and horrified this has happened yet again."
Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry O'Reilly said it was fortunate serious damage was not caused and urged those with information about the attack to contact police.
He added: "The people who attempted to set fire to the church need to realise they are not representative of the local community who see their deeds as hateful and despicable.
"This is not the first time that St Mary's Church has been attacked but fortunately the fire did not take hold.
"I would appeal to anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI immediately."
A PSNI spokesman said: "Police are treating the incident as a hate crime and anyone with information should contact police on the non-emergency number 101."
© UTV News