DUBLIN – A Dublin fancy dress company has withdrawn from sale a bloody Ku Klux Klan costume after a group was accused of a hate crime for wearing it outside an Islamic prayer center in Co Down.
“Everyone knows exactly what the KKK stands for. It represents a brand of hatred not wanted here,” Kellie Armstrong, an Alliance Stormont assembly member based in Newtownards, said, The Times reported.
“It’s bad enough that these people thought it appropriate to parade around the center of the town in these costumes, but to . . . pose outside the Islamic center and mosque is pathetic.
“This group did not simply dress up for Hallowe’en; rather they deliberately posed outside the prayer house. This is a demonstration of aggression and bullying towards a particular religion.”
The incident occurred late last month when photographs of a group of people dressed up as members of the Ku Klux Klan outside a local mosque in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, went online.
The Ku Klux Klan is an extremist Christian Protestant movement that was created in the US in 1865 and is known since then for its terrorism against Christian Catholics.
Based in Baileys Court, Dublin 1, the company Costumesinireland.ie withdrew the €21 costume this week after being contacted by the Belfast Telegraph.
It told the newspaper that the outfit was “satire” and had been used in a “horrible and deplorable attack”.
“This costume obviously is to laugh, ridicule and condemn this organization. It’s a satire costume. We sell this costume in other countries and we think that everybody understands this costume is not real; it has fake blood too,” it said in a statement given to the paper.
The company said that they will investigate whether or not they have sold this costume to the group.
Speaking last week, Inspector Murray said: “Hate crime in all its forms is totally unacceptable. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that we live in a society where diversity is respected.”
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland program director of Amnesty International, the human rights group, said the incident “will have instilled terror in the small Muslim community in Newtownards”.
It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t the first Islamophobic incident against Newtownards Islamic Center.
The mosque was previously attacked in August 2017 when a slaughtered pig’s head was left at its door and an Islamophobic graffiti was painted on the building.
Northern Ireland shifted from being an almost wholly Irish Gaelic Catholic region like the rest of Ireland to a Unionist British Protestant breakaway region.
While there was a small number of Muslims living since 1921 in what became Northern Ireland, the bulk of Muslims in the region today come from immigration during the late 20th century.
The 2001 Census reported that there were 1,943 Muslims living in Northern Ireland.
In 2009, the Belfast Islamic Centre which was established in 1978 estimated that the number of Muslims increased to over 15,000.