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Outrage over far-right group's anti-Islamic leaflets in Lisburn

By Rachel Martin

Published 07/11/2016

Stirring tensions: Jonathan Craig
Stirring tensions: Jonathan Craig

A far-right protest group has been accused of "causing division" and "stirring up tensions" after it distributed hundreds of leaflets over the weekend claiming jihadis were targeting Northern Ireland.

The group - which calls itself Ulster Awake and has more than 3,000 followers on Facebook - said it distributed hundreds of copies of the leaflet headed: "No jihad here! Northern Ireland is under threat."

It claimed there could be up to 650 jihadis on the island and suggests Islamic terrorists are plotting attacks in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK.

The leaflets were found stuck to the windscreens of cars parked outside Lisburn's Bow Street Mall on Saturday.

It criticised Muslims and other ethnic minority and religious groups, and claimed the media is involved in a cover up on terrorist attacks.

"The insanity of mass immigration/bogus asylum seekers and refugees welcome must be challenged and stopped if our nation and people are to survive," the leaflet said.

"We refuse to stand idly by and watch the funeral pyre of our race and nation be built with the help of our 'so-called' politicians, which includes much of unionism. For the sake of your children and grandchildren stand up and resist the invasion."

Lisburn and Castlereagh Council deputy mayor Stephen Martin said those behind the leaflet were "anonymous cowards".

"Everyone is entitled to express their point of view, but when a group pretends to defend us all by spreading outright lies intended to divide communities, it needs condemned in the strongest possible terms," the Alliance councillor said.

"This propaganda needs continually challenged - nothing of what they have put into the public domain actually stands up to scrutiny. These sorts of groups are only interested in whipping up unnecessary fear to further their own agenda.

A far-right leaflet being distributed in Lisburn
A far-right leaflet being distributed in Lisburn

"Whoever wrote this offensive material won't even put their own names to their propaganda. These anonymous cowards need challenged on their lies at every turn."

DUP councillor Jonathan Craig said the leaflets were an "obvious attempt to stir up tensions".

He said: "Those behind the leaflets do not represent the view of people in the Lisburn area and they are clearly ignorant of the huge amount of good work which has been done in tackling racism and promoting good community relations with those who have come to live in Lisburn.

"A national debate about controlled immigration is a world away from these kind of leaflets which are deliberately worded and would undoubtedly be intimidating to those from ethnic minority groups."

A PSNI spokesman said police were aware of political leaflets being distributed in the Lisburn area on Saturday, but did not say if they were treating the incident as a hate crime.

The group claims its "mission is to maintain Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom, and to promote all that is British. British jobs for British people".

Last month, four men were arrested in Ballymena and Coleraine by police investigating the alleged activities of 'right wing extremists' involved in suspicious activity in a Co Antrim forest.

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