Northern Ireland rises against political leaders’ racism

The rise in racism in Northern Ireland is a recent development. I can remember a few years ago when one of the constituencies in the Six Counties elected a lady Taoist of Chinese descent to represent them. Hope Not Hate’s Matthew Collins in his book about his six or so years in the NF and BNP, the appropriately named ‘Hate’, says that while the UDA was keen to have the support of British Fascists, they weren’t actually very keen on their racism. One issue of the UDA magazine, ‘Ulster’, had an article laying down the law demanding the attacks on Chinese restaurant owners and staff should staff. The UDA was one of those proscribed by Thatcher as a terrorist organisation. The rise in racism in Ulster has been blamed on a crisis of identity amongst some Ulster Protestants after the Good Friday peace accords. From the anti-Islam comments of Pastor McConnell, it’s also a reaction to 9-11 and the rise in the persecution of Christians, as well as other religious and ethnic minorities, in Islamic states. The flames of prejudice are also being stoked by British Fascists and Far Right organisations like the BNP and the EDL. Nick Griffin went over there to encourage the Northern Irish to form an Irish version of his party. After the devastation and lives lost through decades of political violence, I would have thought that the very last thing Ulster needed was more of the same. Ordinary, normal politicians prepared to work through conventional legal channel for the good of the people of Ulster – and for that matter, Britain and Ireland- regardless of their faith or colour is what’s needed.

Mike Sivier's blog

Gathering against racism: The people of Northern Ireland demonstrating outside Belfast City Hall [Images: Dermot O' Lymm, as used by Channel 4's news website]. Gathering against racism: The people of Northern Ireland demonstrating outside Belfast City Hall [Images: Dermot O’ Lymm, as used by Channel 4’s news website]. A guest blog by Jason O’Ruairc

“What do you not trust those who are followers of Islam in doing? I’ll be quite honest. I wouldn’t trust them in terms of those who have been involved in terrorist activities. I don’t trust them if they are fully devoted to Sharia law. I wouldn’t trust them for spiritual guidance. Would I trust them to go down to the shops for me? Of course I would.”

If you live outside Northern Ireland you might not recognise these words, since the events surrounding their utterance have gone largely unreported by the UK media, and a timely bomb in Derry’s Everglades Hotel has served to eclipse the story, if that were needed. So, just in case you missed it, here…

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