Robinson: there is clear need for new Islamic centre

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The First Minister has said there is an urgent need for a new Islamic centre in Northern Ireland, after a trip to meet many of Belfast’s Muslims.

He was making a conciliatory visit to the city’s Islamic Centre (BIC) on Tuesday night, following a wave of offence over comments he made about the trustworthiness of Muslims.

Pacemaker Press Belfast 03-06-2014: Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has met members of the Muslim community following the row over his remarks on Islam. It comes after he defended comments made by Pastor James McConnell who described Islam as "heathen" and "satanic". The DUP leader  is pictured after a visit to the Belfast Islamic centre on Tuesday evening were he meet local members of the community.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Pacemaker Press Belfast 03-06-2014: Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has met members of the Muslim community following the row over his remarks on Islam. It comes after he defended comments made by Pastor James McConnell who described Islam as "heathen" and "satanic". The DUP leader is pictured after a visit to the Belfast Islamic centre on Tuesday evening were he meet local members of the community. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

The leadership of the centre expressed friendship towards him following his gesture of respect last night, and Mr Robinson said that having seen it for himself, he acknowledged their current venue is not big enough – adding that he may even help provide funding for a new one.

He said he had backed such a development in the past, but now sees it should be dealt with in an “express” fashion.

Centre spokesman Dr Raied al-Wazzan, an Iraqi scientist who works for a Northern Irish camera firm, said that around 600 people are members of BIC, with many others also paying visits to the building.

The centre is basically a converted detached home standing on a residential street off the Lisburn Road.

Dr al-Wazzan said the location and details of any new centre would have to be worked out in time.

 

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