Anna Lo 'considering leaving Northern Ireland' after Peter Robinson gives backing for 'Satanic Islam' sermon pastor
Comments come after First Minister Peter Robinson gave his support to a controversial preacher who denounced Islam
Alliance MLA Anna Lo has said she is considering leaving Northern Ireland following comments made by First Minister Peter Robinson in support of a controversial pastor who denounced Islam.
The politician - who represents South Belfast and just last week ran as a candidate in the European elections - said she was "angry" at the backing given to Pastor James McConnell.
A heated row was reignited on Wednesday evening, as Pastor McConnell once again appeared on the BBC's Nolan Show to defend comments he made that Islam was a "heathen" doctrine which was "spawned in hell".
Peter Robinson is now at the centre of a religious storm after he defended the firebrand evangelical preacher.
There had been for an investigation into Mr Robinson's comments, to determine whether the First Minister breached the rules of Stormont's Code of Conduct.
In response to the ongoing controversy, Anna Lo said she did not feel safe living in Northern Ireland.
The MLA said she would consider leaving the country "because of what might happen after what he said".
"I do not feel safe here and I know many people who feel the same," she told the Nolan Show.
"I love this country and I chose to live here.
"I am just appalled our political leaders are coming out and making such comments."
On Thursday morning Peter Robinson attempted to diffuse the ongoing row.
He said "no part of me would want to insult or cause distress to local Muslims".
But while he moved to assure members of the Islamic community, he continued his defence of Pastor McConnell's "right to freedom of speech".
Pastor McConnell had described the Islamic faith as "Satanic" during a sermon at his Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle church in Belfast earlier this month.
He also said while there may be "good Muslims" in Britain " I don't trust them".
Speaking to the Irish News this week, Peter Robinson said Pastor McConnell didn't have "an ounce of hatred in his bones".
His comments come after the Belfast Telegraph revealed that during a Sunday evening sermon the pastor said: "Islam is heathen, Islam is Satanic, Islam is a doctrine spawned in Hell."
The 75-year-old pastor's comments sparked a police probe.
Peter Robinson said he had visited the church on several occasions and he would attend in the future.
He said there appeared to be an attempt to demonise Mr McConnell.
"There isn't an ounce of hatred in his bones," he said.
"This is someone who preaches the gospel."
Mr Robinson's comments also prompted a fresh clash with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
In response, the Sinn Fein man and former IRA commander McGuinness, who has already accused the pastor of hate-mongering, told his partner in government to show some leadership.
Peter Robinson: 'I wouldn't trust Muslims devoted to Sharia Law, but I would trust them to go down to the shops for me'
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As far as the creation of political capital goes, I've seen more subtle attempts.
Who really cares ?, just make sure you take down all those scary election posters before you go
Can people not see that religion is the problem here, all myths with their own objectives no matter who they are and what they believe. The route of all evil is in those that believe it. Each one thinking they know more than the other and listen and abide by the rubbish there leaders teach.
Bye bye !!! Don't let the door hit you on the way out Anna..................It was OK for you to insult people living here by calling N Ireland artificial a few months ago. You won't be missed...in fact I will help you pack if you want.
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I heard the interview this morning. Anna was virtually in tears. This is what religious fundamentalists and the DUP have brought us to. The destruction of ay credibility that Northern Ireland has while the rest of the world stands aghast.
No wonder Peter left it until after the elections to comment. He is his own Nero.Someone pass him a fiddle.....
I left Norn Iron in 1977 and I urge every young person to get out and stay out. There is life outside of and after the hatred and sectarianism and racism and narrow mindedness of N Ireland. There are societies where you are not burdened by the hatreds of the past and present and where you can live in a decent society with other people who feel the same. I am not saying it will be perfect or a utopia but when you have leaders with this level of thinking in the 21st century N Ireland is not a place to build a future for you or your children. My own children look at the society I was brought up in (we visit increasingly less each year) and they want nothing to do with it and don't want to waste any time trying to understand it. Sadly N Ireland does not have the capacity to be what it could be preferring to live in the past. Take a look around - the best and brightest are choosing to leave. And whats left is not in any way appealing.
bye bye......cant say that she will be missed, sure we are only a colonial outpost, according to her.
When the First Minister gives his blessing to the Funda-Mentalists, it gives a nod to those people who have been carrying out racist attacks recently.
If you don't fall into the following categories then you are at risk from these yobs:
White, Anglo-Saxon or Scot, Protestant, Heterosexual.
Pastor McConnell would also include, for example, in his words 'Alcoholics' and 'Party Boys', and probably Scientists and Historians (pre-6000 years).
She is annoyed because she did not get elected. Now she is making this all about her.
She is an elected MLA and it was Nolan who made it about her. Try to keep up.
@Ulysses32 She did not get elected to Europe and she rang Nolan to get her piece of the action. Politicians need to be made of stronger stuff, we don't need criers.
Try to keep up.
Try to keep up.
Well toddle on up to Twaddell. There are a few whingers up there that need some support.
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Why? Where are you going?
Sorry for Anna. But obviously she don't like it here, the comments she has been making over the last year show this.
I say to anyone feel free to leave, it's like freedom of speech, it's your choice and if your not happy then go.
This country is becoming like Hitlers Germany where soon you will be locked up for having an opinion that is not what the PC people want to hear. If I say I don't trust someone does that mean I Hate them. I think not.
Robinson needs to go. He is an embarrassment.
I'm not an Alliance voter but I hope Naomi Long trounces the DUP at the next election in East Belfast. She stands head and shoulders above this man and the pettiness his party spits out on a day and daily basis.
I am so sorry for the distress caused to so many people by the remarks made by Mr McConnell and by so many Christians. On behalf of many many people, I want to apologise to those good people in minority groups, who feel threatened and disillusioned, by the shocking comments made by Mr McConnell, and the backing given to him by Mr Robinson.
It is also very unfortunate that other Christian leaders have remained virtually silent.
But I say to Anna Lo and others, please don't leave us, don't let Mr McConnell and Mr Robinson win, if you leave, our society will be much the poorer for it, and you will be leaving us in the hands of these supremacists.
I'm living in Hong Kong, where Ms.Lo is from. Just this week I was making my decision whether to return to Ulster when I saw the pastor's video. It was very sad to see, but I never thought that Peter Robinson, the first minister, could endorse such dangerous and hateful speech. I'm not coming back. I really miss home, but I need to live in a place where people are shown respect regardless of where they're from or what they believe - by a society's leader in particular. I can only hope that no one is attacked as a result of this.
@AnRaibh Then stay where you are if the words of a pastor are so hard to deal with. Mainland China is a very tolerant place to live in and express opinions on everything I hear - Islamic jihadists murdered 27 people and injured 109 at Kunming railway station on March 2nd this year. But as Nolan would say - "thats an isolated case". Among many actually....
Indeed, I hear China is a Nirvana of tolerance. When can we hear about the Dali Lama's next round of speaking enguagements there?
@AnRaibh WOW !!! What a freak coincidence that "Just this week I was making my decision whether to return to Ulster" just happened to coincide with the Pastors video !!!.......go buy a lottery ticket. You obviously must have missed the news the 12 months prior to this also and not noticed the republican bombings and shootings eh ?
Why the pretense of being shocked! Sectarianism is what Northern Ireland is renowned for.
Anna is not alone here. Both myself and my girlfriend have discussed this. We are both educated people who earn decent money and could earn more money elsewhere but we stay here because we love this country.
Both of us are sick and tired of the bigotry, hatred and riots over petty things like pieces of cloth. We want to live in peace. We're both aware that for this country to improve people like us need to stay and work to improve it but there's only so much you can take before enough is enough. And we're far from alone in thinking this. Peter Robinson and Martin McGuiness should consider that before they open their mouths.
The First Minister advocating hate crime is pathetic. Where else would this happen?
It is amazingly arrogant that Pete thinks he can make flippant coments like he did. We are seeing a rise in racism and homophobia in NI and our premier statesman says "i would trust one of them to go to the shops for me".
Frankly unreal and i fel for Anna Lo, she is clearly banging her head against a brick wall. In NI we have religious extremism at the top of our government and its high time they were forced out.
Robinson in all his bigoted glory. These views are more prevalent in NI than people like to let on.
Get out Anna. The province is a dump. Follow the lead of countless capable and ambitious people before you and live somewhere where your talents will be appreciated by mainstream society and not just the enlightened few.
Yep, and pigs will fly!