Loyalists are to hold a protest march next weekend against the presence in the North of refugeees and other foreign immigrants.
The protest rally and parade has been organised by the Protestant Coalition for Saturday, December 5, on the eve of the arrival of a group of Syrian refugees.
Church leaders and politicians have condemned the parade.
The Protestant Coalition, which grew out of the loyalist flag protests, has defended its decision to hold the rally and parade and linked it to the recent attacks by ISIS in Paris.
It said: “Whilst we fully understand where these people and their opposition comes from they must also understand the fears of the people not only in our own country but across the entire world. How can we forget the massacre of 130 people just two weeks ago in Paris?”
Justin Kouame from the Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (NICRAS) said refugees pose no threat and that the rally should be called off.
“They are using the opportunity to blame the refugees for what happened and put forward their own agenda,” he said. “There are refugees here for many years and nothing happened.”
Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness said people have a responsibility to offer “our compassion and our sympathy” to refugees.
“We will not stand for it,” he said. “We will stand together and we will give these people the warm welcome they deserve.”
Tensions have escalated amid a wave of racist attacks across the North in recent weeks, including an arson attack on the home of an Indian family in Antrim town.
The home of Subi Philip, a Cardiac nurse from southern India, was targeted by petrol bombers and had her family car burnt out and the home damaged by flames.
While she and her two daughters escaped injury, the family have been forced to flee their homes.
Mrs Philip told the BBC that they had been alerted early on Friday by a noise outside.
“I just heard a big bang and got out of my bed and saw a big fire. When I came downstairs and saw it, I started screaming.
“My girls didn’t know why I was screaming and they were screaming too. I was really panicking.”
When neighbours knocked at Mrs Philip’s door, urging her to get out of the house, she initially feared that they were the arsonists and refused to leave.
“I was scared. I wasn’t sure if they were there to attack me and my girls or not,” she said.
When she realised that they were trying to help, she opened the door and fled with her children.
SDLP councillor Roisin Lynch called it an “utterly reckless and callous attack that has left a family and community devastated”.
“This is a woman who has served our community as a cardiac nurse for years. She has set down roots and helped transform the lives of local people for the better. That stands in stark contrast to those who carried out this vicious attack.”