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People of Ballymena are united against Islamophobia

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SDLP North Antrim Representative Connor Duncan has condemned those behind a petrol bomb attack in a residential area of Ballymena in the early hours of this morning. Police are treating the attack on a Muslim man in Kintyre Park as a hate crime.

He said: “Just as representatives of Islam denounced totally the actions of those responsible for the Paris and Beirut attacks, the people of Ballymena have made it undoubtedly clear that this attack was not perpetrated in their name and does not represent the views of a community that welcomes diversity and celebrates difference.

“Those responsible for this attack are at odds with the people of Ballymena and North Antrim who stand untied against Islamophobia and all hate crime.”

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood met with Dr Saleem Tareen and Belfast Islamic Centre representatives yesterday as a mark of solidarity against potential Islamophobia that could follow the attacks in Paris and Beirut.

He said: “Following the horrific attacks in Paris and Beirut, there has been a spike in Islamophobia and attacks on Muslims throughout Europe. We must be absolute and resolute as we stand against those who would seek to use tragedy as an excuse to vent their intolerance and espouse their bigotry.

“The futile cycle of violence must be broken. The SDLP and the people of Ireland will not tolerate those who seek to inflict further atrocity upon innocents.”

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