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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July, 2003, 07:03 GMT 08:03 UK
Race attack family to leave NI
Dolores Kelly and Craigavon mayor Ignatius Fox survey the damage
SDLP's Dolores Kelly and Craigavon mayor Ignatius Fox survey damage
A mixed race Muslim family whose home was attacked by a gang in County Armagh last week are leaving Northern Ireland.

The family's Craigavon home was attacked by up to 10 men who used baseball bats and iron bars to break windows and doors at the house in the mainly loyalist Enniskeen area.

Six children, including a severely disabled boy, were in the house when it was attacked in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The family, who have been targeted before, said they have had enough and that "Northern Ireland is just not ready for different people".

The mother of the family, who was born in the Irish Republic and converted to Islam as an adult, said for the sake of her children she had to leave the province.

"We are not just moving out of the north, we are moving out of Ireland completely," she said.

'Extremely naive'

"We are going to where there are a lot more Muslims so that we can at the very least feel part of a community and not on the edge - we have to do it for the sake of the children."

Police have not ruled out a racist motive for the latest attack on the family's home.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said her family had moved to Northern Ireland two years ago because they thought it would be good for them.

However, she now believes their decision was "extremely naive".

"Our initial thoughts were that we were neither Protestant nor Catholic so this would be fine because we are not involved in the politics of the north. We were just simply extremely naive."

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


SEE ALSO:
Family in 'racist' attack
07 Jul 03  |  Northern Ireland
Attack motive investigated
30 Jun 03  |  Northern Ireland
NI 'needs to tackle racism'
21 Mar 03  |  Northern Ireland
NI 'needs anti-racism forum'
10 Dec 02  |  Northern Ireland


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