World Bulletin / News Desk
Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson has made a public apology to the Muslim community at the Islamic Center in Belfastfor originally backing a priest who criticized Islam.
"I have had a very welcoming visit to the Belfast Islamic Centre. I have been received in friendship, and respect," Robison said, the Belfast Telegraph reported.
"I came here to make it very clear that the members of the Islamic community are a very important and valued part of our society in Northern Ireland,” he said.
"I know many of you centre on an issue of an issue of an apology - I apologize to these gentlemen, if anything I said had caused them hurt,” he added.
Robinson had ten days ago backed pastor James McConnell, who during a church service told a congregation that Islam was an 'evil' religion.
"Islam is heathen. Islam is satanic. Islam is a doctrine spawned in hell," the pastor told his congregation.
Saying that the pastor had "not an ounce of hatred in his bones," Robinson, who occassionally attends the pastor's church, told Irish News that McConnell was just "someone who preaches the gospel" and that he had no plans to stop attending his service.
Robinson earleri this month was also accused of not doing enough to stop racist attacks by the protestant Ulster Volunteer Force in his East Belfast constituency ahead of the local and European elections.
A 2011 census recorded 49,204 Muslims living in Northern Ireland, up from 4,000 two decades ago.Last Mod: 04 Haziran 2014, 17:24