Published Friday, 30 May 2014
The DUP has rejected comments one of its councillors made about Anna Lo. (© Presseye)
Dineen Walker, who is the current deputy mayor of Newtownabbey and the DUP's candidate to be the next mayor, made the remark in response to a news story posted on a BBC NI Facebook page.
She claimed that she saw Anna Lo as "racist towards the people of Northern Ireland".
A DUP spokesman said: "Dineen Walker's comments in no way represent the views of the Democratic Unionist Party.
"Such language is wrong and Dineen has removed the comment acknowledging that she read the news report incorrectly. Councillor Walker has also apologised for the remarks."
Anna Lo has said she intends to quit politics because she is "fed up with tribal politics". She also said she has considered leaving Northern Ireland as she doesn't feel safe due to race attacks.
Although we have profound political differences with Anna Lo, and do not support her pro-united Ireland stance, it is simply wrong to accuse her of racism.
It all comes after a major row developed over racism, initially sparked by concerns over a pastor's sermon about Islam which is being investigated by police amid allegations of a hate crime.
First Minister Peter Robinson, who attends the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle where the sermon was given, then voiced support for Pastor James McConnell.
The DUP leader said it was the "duty of any Christian preacher to denounce false doctrine" and added that he did not trust Muslims who were involved in "terrorist activities" or those "fully devoted to Sharia law".
Mr Robinson insists that his remarks were not intended to cause offence to the wider Muslim community and has since met with the head of the Belfast Islamic Centre on the issue.
Dr Raied Al-Wazzan told UTV that there had been a "frank" discussion on Thursday night.
"We told the First Minister that we are hurt by his comments to the Muslim community and he privately apologised and we're satisfied with that," he said.
"He said: 'I am sorry if I hurt any Muslim' and we accept that. And also we invited him to visit the Belfast Islamic Centre and he's kindly agreed to visit us with the deputy First Minister as well."
In a statement on Friday, Ms Lo thanked those who have sent her messages of support since announcing she was standing down.
She said: "I have received thousands of messages of support since I announced that I would be standing down at the next election. I have been very heartened by their kind words.
"I would like to express my deep felt thanks to all those who have taken the time to write, phone, visit my office or to post the #IStandWithAnna on social media.
"It gives me great pride to see so many people stand up and declare that they want to see an end to hate. This is the message that I want to see coming from Northern Ireland."
Sinn Féin's Caitríona Ruane said she will raise the issue of racial abuse the next Policing Board.
"In March I became aware of racial and verbal abuse directed against Alliance MLA Anna Lo at an International Women's Day event and I reported the incident to the Policing Board," she said.
"The complaint will now be discussed at next week's meeting of the Policing Board."
Meanwhile, an anti-racism rally has been organised to take place at Belfast City Hall at noon on Saturday amid ongoing concerns.
A march has also been planned for central Belfast at 2pm the following Saturday, organised by Amnesty International, the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities.
© UTV News