DUP is hit by second Islamophobic Twitter storm in days as Bradley says sorry for post
A DUP MLA has apologised and deleted his Twitter account after retweeting an Islamophobic message labelling the Mayor of London the "enemy within".
Maurice Bradley retweeted the message about Sadiq Khan from an account that posts extremist far-right content.
The tweet featured a video in which Conservative member of the London Assembly Andrew Boff asked Mr Khan if he would write to the Home Secretary to ask for clarification on "the rules for a banned organisation".
The video is accompanied with text which read: "The enemy within: Muslim Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, refuses to support ban of Hezbollah terror group, says he must consider if it is the 'right thing to do'."
The East Londonderry MLA faced a backlash over his sharing of the anti-Muslim post.
SDLP MLA Claire Hanna said: "There has been a bit of an overlap between loyalism and the far-right for a while, but it is very worrying when it is propagated by senior elected representatives," she told the BBC.
Mr Bradley responded: "I removed earlier retweet and apologise for it.
"I disagree with Sadiq Khan's approach to Hezbollah - brutal terrorist apologists. The mayor has a democratic mandate and his religion is irrelevant."
A DUP spokesman said Mr Bradley had rightly removed the retweet and that his views did not represent those of the party.
"This matter will be considered by the party officers," he added.
This is the second anti-Muslim Twitter storm to engulf the DUP in less than a week.
On Monday North Antrim MP Ian Paisley issued a grovelling apology after being heavily criticised for retweeting an Islamophobic post by controversial right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins.
She had written that London had a higher murder rate than New York "and Ramadan's not yet begun".
Leaders of Belfast's Islamic community have invited the North Antrim MP to meet them after retweeting Hopkins' Islamophobic message.
Speaking to BBC's Talkback, Mr Paisley said he had "no problem" in taking up the invitation.
"I've met with members of the community before in different guises. Indeed, I attended one of their post-Ramadan evening suppers about two years ago, so I've absolutely no problem.
"Certainly, if I can arrange it I will do that."
The contrite MP said he was attracted to Hopkins' tweet due to its comparison with New York and London's numbers of violent killings, which he has been following in Parliament.
"That jarred with me and I thought that was interesting. I retweeted the thing and moved on," he said.
When asked if he hadn't noticed the reference to Ramadan, he replied: "It genuinely didn't even dawn on me.
"I had registered something else and retweeted it.
"A couple of hours later it was drawn to my attention.
"I immediately deleted it and later on put out my apology."