Islam comments row: Thousands attend anti-racism rallies
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.