Belfast Telegraph

Those responsible for pig meat thrown through door of Belfast Islamic Centre 'displaying ignorance and hate' says Sinn Fein MLA

By Claire Williamson

Pig meat has been thrown through the door of the Belfast Islamic Centre.

It happened on Saturday night and has been reported to police.

The Belfast Islamic Centre said due to a "number of incidents" recently they are asking members of the community to remain vigilant and report any incidents of harassment to the police.

In a statement posted on Facebook they said: "Thankfully Pork is not Muslim Kryptonite and no-one was harmed, but the message behind the action was one of hate.

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

"They will not succeed. "

DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly 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."

Sinn Fein MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said those responsible are displaying only "ignorance and hate".

He said: "This attack is a disgrace and I condemn it in the strongest possible way.

"There can be no place for racism our any other forms of discrimination in our society.

"Those who carried out this attack have nothing to offer the community.

"At a time when members of the Islamic community of South Belfast are displaying the true Festive spirit by putting on a free dinner tomorrow for those alone at Christmas, the racists behind this incident are displaying only ignorance and hate.

"Those who have recently been ramping up racist invective against Muslims should hang their heads in shame.

"I would urge anyone with information on this attack to bring it forward to the PSNI to ensure those responsible can be brought to justice."

The Muslim Council of Britain issued a statement of support and said it stands in solidarity with the Belfast Islamic Centre.

Harun Khan secretary general said: "There is no place for such hate within our society. The fact that 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 are treating it as a hate incident.

Inspector Bannerman said: “A report was received at around 8pm that a bag containing meat had been thrown into the hallway of the premises. Enquiries are currently ongoing and the matter is being treated as a hate incident. Anyone with any information is asked to contact police in Lisburn Road on 101 quoting reference number 1549 23/12/17.

"Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

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