By Andrew Madden
BELFAST Islamic Centre has hit out at far-right groups in Northern Ireland after a niqab was placed on a statue in the city as part of a “ban the burqa” campaign.
The display was carried out by “Generation Identity”, a Europe-wide movement who are against immigration, multiculturalism and support different communities’ “right to difference” through separation.
GI put the Islamic clothing (since removed) on one of the statues that make up the 1992 Monument to the Unknown Woman Worker on Great Victoria Street mall on Sunday as part of their “ban the burqa” campaign.
Similar actions simultaneously took place across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, carried out by GI members from various branches of the group.
Naomi Green of Belfast Islamic Centre hit out at Sunday’s “dangerous stunt” and pointed out that only a “handful” of women here wear niqabs – primarily Saudis who have come to study or work in our hospitals.
“The Muslim community here is not only small but well integrated. These people are determined to cause hurt and division where there is none.
“So this stunt is attention-seeking xenophobia hiding behind a ‘concern’ that isn’t even culturally relevant here.”
Ms Green said such far-right groups “wrap up their rhetoric” with “fancy videos” and polite language, precisley what is “so dangerous about them”.
“Strip it back to the bare bones and they essentially want ethnic purity and ethnic cleansing.”