Police investigate hand-delivered 'fascist and Islamophobic' leaflets

Police are working to establish who was behind a series of anti-Islamic leaflets posted through letterboxes in parts of Belfast.

Officers are treating the incident in the south east of the city as a hate crime.

Racist leaflets from a group calling itself Generation Sparta were hand-delivered to homes in the Ravenhill area, a part of Belfast with a diverse ethnic make-up.

Assembly member Christopher Stalford condemned the perpetrators.

"I was reared in Carrington Street at the bottom of the Ravenhill Road," the DUP representative said.

"The group calling itself Generation Sparta putting hate filled literature through people's doors in the Ravenhill area do not speak for the people who live there. I condemn this utterly."

Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir described the leaflets as "fascist and Islamophobic".

"Those racist elements behind this anti-Muslim and fascist propaganda intend only to stoke fear, hatred and division amongst the people of our shared city," he said.

"Sinn Fein unequivocally condemns hatred of this kind.

"I have reached out to Muslim community leaders in South Belfast in an attempt to allay any concerns raised by this incident.

"I am calling on all communities, and all political leaders in the targeted areas, to publicly condemn this hatred.

"We all have a responsibility to show solidarity and compassion with our Muslim brothers and sisters in the face of this callous bigotry."

Ulster Unionist councillor for the area Chris McGimpsey added: "This behaviour is completely unwanted and does not reflect the people of the lower Ravenhill Road area.

"This is a community in which people live in harmony with their neighbours, and there is simply no excuse for anyone to come in and seek to create division or stoke up tension.

"This country has had more than enough of conflict and we are all now working towards a shared future and a peaceful society.

"This appears to be a scary prospect for some people who seem to want to create and exploit division, but they are the ones who are not wanted or needed.

"Whoever is behind this leaflet needs to stop what they are doing, back off and leave the community in peace."

PSNI Chief Inspector David Moore said: "We are treating this as a hate incident at present and we are making a number of enquiries.

"The Police Service of Northern Ireland continues to make it clear that hate crime, in any form, is unacceptable.

"Each of us has a responsibility to ensure that we live in a society where diversity is respected.

"We in PSNI are working with our partners across the public, private and voluntary sectors to provide reassurance, support to victims and promote tolerance and respect for all cultures and identities.

"You can find out more about what constitutes a hate crime and more importantly how to report it on the PSNI website."

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