Nesbitt meets Muslims amid apology calls

Nesbitt meets Muslims amid apology calls

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt has met with representatives of the Muslim community amid fresh calls for a public apology from First Minister Peter Robinson.

Mr Robinson is expected to visit the Belfast Islamic Centre in the coming days, but on Monday evening Mr Nesbitt became the first of Northern Ireland's unionist political leaders to do so in the wake of the controversy over comments made by pastor James McConnell, who branded Islam "satanic".Mr Nesbitt said: "I think the feeling is that they just want to impress upon us that they want to be treated as equal citizens in NI, that they contribute to our economy and our society."All they want is to have a level playing field and the same respect afforded to them as to every other so-called ethnic minority."Peter Robinson has already been forced to apologise in private to representatives of the Muslim community after he appeared to back pastor McConnell.However there have still been calls for him to say sorry in public, something which Dr Raied Al-Wazzan from the Belfast Islamic Centre said would be "helpful".He continued: "We already accepted his apology in private and whenever he comes to the centre and meets more Muslims, he could make up his mind."


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