Belfast Telegraph

Anger as pork hurled in race hate attack on Belfast Islamic centre

By Claire Williamson

Members of the Belfast Islamic Centre say they have received many messages of support after pig meat was thrown through the door on Saturday.

It is the latest in a spate of race hate attacks on the Muslim community.

Staff said due to a "number of incidents" they are asking the community to remain vigilant and report anything untoward to police.

Other incidents include "hate messages" being posted on the centre's Facebook page, and a couple of months ago paint was thrown on the building.

The latest targeting of the centre came during night-time prayers.

The Belfast Islamic Centre said: "Thankfully pork is not Muslim kryptonite and nobody was harmed, however the message behind the action was one of hate.

"We know this individual does not represent the majority of people in Northern Ireland and reject this attempt to stir up tension and divisions between Muslims and non-Muslims in Northern Ireland."

Dr Raied Al Wazzan, the treasurer of the centre, told the BBC: "We have received many messages of support. They (the attackers) will not succeed. We have a very good relationship with all communities in Northern Ireland and we work hard with our outreach."

South Belfast DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly condemned those responsible.

She tweeted: "Attacking our small Muslim community in Belfast is completely wrong, achieves nothing and is entirely misdirected.

"I have previously personally visited this centre.

"The response is in good humour, but the intent was not.

"UK right to religious belief is fundamental and protected."

The Muslim Council of Britain said it stands in solidarity with the Belfast Islamic Centre.

Secretary general Harun Khan said: "There is no place for such hate within our society.

"The fact that this is not the first such attack means swift action needs to be taken to ensure the safety and security of the mosque and the surrounding community."

Police in south Belfast said they were treating it as a hate incident.

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