SDLP Leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell has challenged the first minister to say “sorry” to Muslims who call Northern Ireland their home after his remarks in support of Pastor James McConnell.
Dr Alasdair McDonnell MP and Fearghal McKinnely MLA with representatives of the Belfast Islamic Centre and (second right) trustee Dr. Mazhar Khan.
The South Belfast M.P accompanied by South Belfast MLA Fearghal McKinney, met earlier with representatives of the Belfast Islamic Centre. They stressed the Party’s “unequivocal support” for Muslims and paid tribute to the Muslim community for its contribution to daily life in Northern Ireland.
Dr McDonnell said: “The SDLP told the executive committee at the Islamic Centre and its trustee Dr Mazhar Khan we are fully behind the Muslim community.
“What Pastor McConnell said was deeply offensive, but when Peter Robinson became involved and attempted to explain the comments it became political, very damaging and significant.
“Peter Robinson holds the very privileged position of first minister and with that position of authority comes a high degree of responsibility. When is he going to stand up and act as a first minister for everyone?”
“This is an eccentric and totally unrepresentative situation that has evolved with Pastor McConnell and the first minister. Peter Robinson and his crooked thoughts have caused serious harm and he has got to put this right.
“I believe this embarrassing and humiliating situation does not reflect what the majority of people in Northern Ireland believe. Peter Robinson must say ‘sorry’, loud and clear and without delay.”