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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Family in 'racist' attack
Dolores Kelly and Craigavon mayor Ignatius Fox survey the damage
SDLP's Dolores Kelly and Craigavon mayor Ignatius Fox survey damage
The home of a mixed race Muslim family in County Armagh has been attacked by a gang of up to ten men.

The men used baseball bats and iron bars to break windows and doors at the house in the mainly loyalist Enniskeen area of Craigavon at about 0230 BST on Saturday.

The family have been targeted before.

Six children were in the house at the time of the attack, including a severely disabled boy.

Police have not ruled out a racist motive.

SDLP councillor Dolores Kelly said it was a terrifying experience for the family.

"The front door was hit with such ferocity that the glass actually landed at the top of the stairs.

"It was 2.30 in the morning, and they really just feel powerless.

"They're going to leave Northern Ireland - they can't stick it any longer."

She said she had no doubt that the attack, which followed a campaign opposing a mosque in the Craigavon area, was racially motivated.

She said White Nationalist Party leaflets had recently been distributed in the area, stoking fears of al Qaeda-style terrorists.

"The wife of the family had air rifle pellets fired at her in recent weeks.

They're going to leave Northern Ireland - they can't stick it any longer
Dolores Kelly
SDLP councillor
"The children were in effect imprisoned in their own home - they just couldn't go out the door of their own home without being taunted."

Craigavon Mayor Ignatius Fox said councillors would be meeting with members of the Muslim community later this week in "an attempt to alleviate their fears".

Last week, Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine and Tommy Kirkham of the Ulster Political Research Group hit out at a series of attacks on ethnic groups in south Belfast.

Police are investigating whether a pipe bomb attack earlier this week on an ethnic couple and their eight-week-old baby twins in Donegall Avenue was racially motivated.

The home of two black South African women on the same road was attacked with a pipe bomb last month.

Police say literature bearing the name of a militant British political party had been posted through the doors of people from ethnic backgrounds.

A number of other possible racially motivated incidents in the same area are also being investigated.

Police say 226 racial incidents were reported between April 2002 and April 2003, with 185 such attacks in the previous year.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Craigavon Mayor Ignatius Fox
"We will be meeting with Muslim leaders in an attempt to alleviate their fears"


SDLP councillor Dolores Kelly
"They're going to leave Northern Ireland - they can't stick it any longer"



SEE ALSO:
Loyalists hit out at racist attacks
03 Jul 03  |  Northern Ireland
Attack motive investigated
30 Jun 03  |  Northern Ireland
NI 'needs to tackle racism'
21 Mar 03  |  Northern Ireland
Racism discussed at conference
28 Feb 03  |  Northern Ireland
NI 'needs anti-racism forum'
10 Dec 02  |  Northern Ireland
Police appeal after racial attacks
13 Feb 03  |  Northern Ireland


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