Loyalist racism reaches new depths
Loyalist racism reaches new depths


The erection of Nazi-style flags near a Belfast mosque is the latest incident of territorial hate crimes in the North to be blamed on loyalists.

Three flags bearing the swastika and the symbol of the SS were erected overnight on Tuesday night in a mixed area in Dunmurry. Loyalists from the nearby Seymour Hill estate have been blamed.

Jamal Iweida, imam and chairperson of Iqraa Mosque on the street, said he was “disgusted” and worried about the safety of the children who attend the mosque and had been forced to walk past the flags. Riaz Dastur was among the parents bringing their children to the mosque on Wednesday morning, attending with his 13-year-old son, Raaid.

He said that upon first seeing the flags he didn’t give them much thought “because there’s always flags everywhere”.

But when he realised the significance of the symbols, he said his mind “went to the New Zealand incident where the Muslims were killed inside the mosque a couple of years back in Christchurch”.

While the PSNI removed the Nazi flags, they did not explain why they refused to remove other flags erected by loyalists across Dunmurry earlier this summer, including Israeli flags provocatively flown near the mosque.

SDLP councillor Paul Doherty said the hanging of the flags was “absolutely disgraceful”.

“Solidarity to all those who worship at the Iqraa Mosque and School and praise to the many local residents who have quickly spoken out in anger against this,” he said in a post on social media.


City centre businesses have also been coming under attack by loyalists seeking to target foreigners and other outsiders.

Last week, an arson at a commercial premises in the loyalist Sandy Row area of Belfast was being described as a racially motivated hate crime.

A father-of-four has told of his devastation after his tech business was burned down (pictured, left) following a campaign of racist harassment.

The man, who was granted asylum in the North after escaping civil strife in Sudan, said the business he built from nothing has suffered a series of vandalism-style attacks since moving to Sandy Row in April.

But despite his pleas for help to local politicians, the community and the PSNI, he lost everything when Bash Technology Services was set alight in the early hours of Friday morning.

He told Belfast Live: “I have had four or five minor accidents here since I moved... an accident in June, two in July, and two in August. This is the final one as I have to move out.”

The business had previously suffered included a number of broken windows, his sign was stolen from outside his shop, and paint was thrown at his doors. He said they also “brought a bin from somewhere and they burned it in front of the door”.

However, the latest attack on his shop left it gutted, with all his stock destroyed.

“I am part of the community now. My children were born here and grow up here. The work I have done to get this business up and running. There is no internet café around now.

“I did computer services, I did work in the community, and I volunteer. My customers were happy to have this place. I am very upset... very sad.”

It is the second business forced to close in the area by loyalists in recent months.

Restaurateur Malachy Turner has explained how he was put out of business by loyalist paramilitaries because he refused to hand over thousands of pounds.

The businessman from west Belfast went public to expose the campaign of intimidation which forced him to close ‘Ribs and Bibs’ restaurant, previously ‘Carlitos’.

It culminated in a hammer attack at the premises in which he barely escaped with his life.

“A guy came in one night saying we’re going to work your kitchen for you. We’re going to give you £1,000 a week, but we’re going to run the restaurant. I said to one, you’re not running my restaurant,” he said.

“I got phone calls all the time saying, ‘get out, you Fenian bastard. Who do you think you are?’”

He closed it at Christmas, and a few weeks later he went down to do an itinerary.

“There was a rattle out the back and these two guys flew in with hoods on and baseball bats and started lashing me. There were two other guys outside in the entry.

“They were trying to drag me out, and lucky enough as soon as I got to the steel door, I managed to get it closed and bolted.

“I’m convinced if they’d got me out in that entry, I’m a dead man walking, but they busted my head and the side of my ear, cracked a few ribs, and my legs were badly bruised. I must have been lying on that floor for two or three hours.”

He hit out at the ‘peace funding’ handed to loyalist paramilitary groups ‘for transition’.

“All they did was buy new baseball bats to beat people like me around the head,” he said.

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