Organisers of one of two ‘yellow vest’ protest planned for Belfast this month say they are “at war with Islam not Muslims” following condemnation of comments on their social media page.
The Yellow Vest Movement of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which has been criticised for exhibiting far-right sympathies on the page, is staging a protest at Belfast City Hall on January 19.
One post on the page states: “I dare the Office of National Statistics or any government agency to prove that Muslims are not the biggest danger to white British children.”
Another shows an image of Santa in front of a Union flag holding a sign saying: “F*** off Abdul! It’s our land and we’ll celebrate Christmas how we like you got that!”
The group has been slammed by the left-wing Yellow Vest Occupy Belfast group, which is holding a protest at City Hall on January 12.
Yellow Vest Occupy Belfast, which wants an end to public services cuts and zero-hour contracts, rejected a proposal from the other group to stage a joint demonstration after viewing “xenophobic and anti-immigration” material on its social media page.
Yesterday, the Yellow Vest Movement of Great Britain and Northern Ireland wrote on its Facebook page: “Right stop being racist, please stop being a bigot, xenophobia and Islamophobia just stop full stop.
“This page is in the media spotlight as apparently we are far right and what I said up above.
“Look once again I will say we aren’t against any Muslim or race simple as that, what we are against is Islam two different things.
“As I keep saying we are at war with Islam not Muslims.”
The group’s social media profile pictures had been changed yesterday. They had formerly featured a clenched fist covered in a Union flag and an image of a young white girl surrounded by figures wearing burkhas.
They have now been replaced by an image of a figure in the colours of the Union flag kicking a figure in the colours of the EU flag captioned “Caution this is Sparta”, and a crowd of people in yellow vests under the caption “Now is the time”.
Belfast Islamic Centre said it expected the protest by the Yellow Vest Movement of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to be minimal.
“The usual propaganda spread by these small groups indicates a confused understanding of our faith and our daily lives,” it said.
“Thankfully, the wider Northern Ireland population has continued to support the small but diverse Muslim population.
“Muslims in Northern Ireland currently comprise of at least 48 different national backgrounds and have contributed to society in a variety of ways over the decades.”