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South Belfast Racist Attack

22 July, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Belfast, Alex Maskey, has called on unionist political and community leaders to do more to stop racist attacks in their community. Mr Maskey's call comes after an Asian family were petrol bombed from their home in the Tates Avenue area overnight.

Mr Maskey said:

" Last night an Asian family whose home had been repeatedly attacked since the Twelfth period were petrol bombed from their home in the Tates Avenue area. This is yet another disgraceful racist attack against a completely innocent family attempting to get on with building a life here.

" Unfortunately it is not the first such attack in South Belfast over the past 18 months. We have already witnessed a sustained campaign by unionist paramilitaries to drive ethnic minorities out of the Donegal Road/Sandy Row area. A campaign which when halted in the face of massive public pressure was replaced by an anti-Catholic campaign aimed at an apartment block in the same area, a campaign unfortunately endorsed by mainstream unionist politicians.

" A toleration by unionist politicians of blatant sectarianism and of sectarian intimidation in South Belfast gives the green light to those elements within their community who wish to carry out racist attacks. Sectarianism and racism are the two sides of the same coin and must be confronted with equal vigour if we are to build a truly inclusive city. That is a challenge for all of us, but I have to say particularly for many unionist political leaders at this time." ENDS

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