Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland group which says Koran is 'barbaric' visits mosque in Belfast

By Victoria Leonard

A group that describes Islamic scripture as "barbaric" has visited a mosque in Belfast at the invitation of an independent unionist councillor.

The group - Exposing Islam-Northern Ireland - visited Belfast Islamic Centre with Shankill councillor Jolene Bunting, who recently invited the far-right anti-Muslim group Britain First to speak outside City Hall.

Ms Bunting, who is an administrator for the group's Facebook page, said she had extended her invitation after being invited by Belfast Islamic Centre to tour its Wellington Park facility and ask questions.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Ms Bunting told the Belfast Telegraph that she would be accompanied by two members of the online group, as well as a pastor.

She said she wanted reassurances that the centre "would not host Islamic hate preachers coming to Northern Ireland" and she called for the wearing of the burkha in public places here to be banned.

Last night, the group confirmed that the visit had gone ahead via its Facebook page. However, its promises to stream a discussion detailing the visit had not materialised at the time of going to press.

Nor did Belfast Islamic Centre respond to requests for comment.

On its Facebook page, Exposing Islam-Northern Ireland states: "We know violence and extremism will not break this evil and barbaric political ideology (Islam); that is exactly what they want, us to attack them so they can play the victim card. We need to fight smart, we need to be armed with knowledge and constantly challenging the narrative that 'this has nothing to do with Islam' and other such empty platitudes which get banned (sic) about following each terror attack or uncovering of yet another grooming gang, etc."

Ms Bunting denied the content of the group's Facebook page was "disrespectful". The group also plans to screen a film entitled 'Can't we talk about this: The Islamic Jihad Against Free Speech' in Northern Ireland.

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