Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Islam comments row: Thousands attend anti-racism rallies

Alliance MLA Anna Lo  among thousands of people attending an anti-racism rally at Belfast City Hall on Saturday after recent comments made about the Islamic faith.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Alliance MLA Anna Lo among thousands of people attending an anti-racism rally at Belfast City Hall on Saturday after recent comments made about the Islamic faith. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Thousands of people attend an anti-racism rally at Belfast City Hall on Saturday after recent comments made about the Islamic faith.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Thousands of people attend an anti-racism rally at Belfast City Hall on Saturday after recent comments made about the Islamic faith. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Thousands of people attend an anti-racism rally at Belfast City Hall on Saturday after recent comments made about the Islamic faith.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Thousands of people attend an anti-racism rally at Belfast City Hall on Saturday after recent comments made about the Islamic faith. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Thousands of people attended anti-racism rallies in Belfast and Londonderry on Saturday following recent racist attacks in Northern Ireland and controversial comments by a pastor who described Islam as "satanic".

Organisers of the Belfast event said it was held to communicate the city's support of its migrant and ethnic minority residents.

Police said around 4,000 people attended the event.

Speakers included Alliance MLA Anna Lo, who this week said she would not be seeking re-election after being subjected to racist abuse.

Ms Lo was also critical of First Minister Peter Robinson following remarks he made in support of Paster James McConnell who earlier this month gave a sermon in which he described Islam as a "doctrine spawned in hell."

Addressing today's rally, she said everyone in Northern Ireland must stand up against racism and sectarianism.

A spokesperson behind the rally said: "Attacks on migrants are shaming. A clear rise in racial prejudice is shaming. Widespread and growing Islamophobia is shaming.

"The fact that Anna Lo MLA is now considering leaving Northern Ireland due to racism – that's shaming. Shame isn't enough."

Meanwhile, plans for an anti-racism march through the streets of Belfast have been announced.

The event, planned for next Saturday, is being described as a chance for the community to take a stand against racism.

Organisers say the purpose is to reassure ethnic and religious minorities that they are a welcome and an integral part of society and to call for effective and united political leadership against racism.

Further Reading

Anna Lo: Sorry still hardest word for First Minister Peter Robinson 

Ukip official Henry Reilly in race dig at Alliance 

Peter Robinson Islam row: Ian Paisley's son slams DUP leader over remarks

Peter Robinson Islam row: Doctors may quit health service

Pastor James McConnell Islam row spreads around globe 

Peter Robinson's words not only exacerbate new divisions but send out appalling message to investors overseas

Anna Lo's tears as she talks of quitting politics, and the country as well 

DUP councillor Dineen Walker calls Anna Lo a racist in bizarre Facebook outburst

Muslims accept Robinson's apology

Muslim rant preacher: First Minister Peter Robinson moves to defuse Islam row

Peter Robinson: 'I wouldn't trust Muslims devoted to Sharia Law, but I would trust them to go down to the shops for me'  

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