A 45 year-old Rochdale man is recovering in hospital today after being attacked for not referring to this coming Sunday as ‘Easter Sunday’.

The victim, Rev. Roger Simpkins, was greeting a member of his congregation outside Rochdale Parish Church when the attack took place.

“I saw Mary Wilson, the nice lady who does our flowers, and asked her if she was looking forward to the service this Sunday,” he told reporters. “The next thing I know a stocky gentleman with a Staffordshire bull terrier walked up to us, screamed ‘It’s Easter Sunday!’ in my face, accused me of being ‘a muslamic’ and then beat me unconscious.”

Police confirmed that a 36 year-old man has been arrested for the attack and will appear at Bury and Rochdale Magistrates Court next week.

Speaking to reporters from the abandoned sofa in his front garden, the accused, Darren Fudd, said that he was simply trying to defend British values.

“This is a Christian country and it’s about time that leftards and muslins stopped trying to destroy our culture,” he said, swigging from a can of Special Brew as he put his feet up on the stolen motorbike engine rusting away on his lawn.

“I dunno who that bloke was but he clearly knows nothing about Jesus or what it means to be a true patriot.”

Prof. Graham Spigot, head of religious studies at Rochdale Community University, told the Herald that an increasing number of people appeared to be confusing national identity with faith.

“Religious faith is a choice and is not something simply bestowed upon you by your place of birth,” he explained. “So being born in a traditionally Christian country does not automatically make you a Christian.

“That’s particularly true if you’re the sort of person who laughs at drowning refugees or launches thinly-veiled attacks on other faiths by expressing faux outrage at the labelling on chocolate eggs,” he continued.

“That just makes you a c**t.”

Get monthly highlights in your inbox