Over 90% of all racist attacks between January 2005 and September 2006 in the North of Ireland have occurred in loyalist areas
In 2005 there were 31 racial assaults reported in the media and 28 of these took place in loyalist communities ranging from south Belfast to Portadown all the way across to Portavogie on the Ards Peninsula. The remaining three attacks were in Catholic areas including Derry and Ballycastle.
So far this year there have been 33 racist attacks recorded and 30 of these were in Protestant areas. These assaults range from petrol bombings of the houses of migrant workers to the forced evictions of black women from loyalist estates. In one incident in March this year racists smeared excrement over a Catholic Church in the Upper Newtonards Road in east Belfast, which has become a place of worship for Filipino nurses working at nearby Ulster Hospital.
The latest alleged racist incident occurred last Monday at a secondary school in North Belfast. Jade Taylor, 13, was left badly shaken and bruised after she said she was assaulted by racists at Glengormley High School. Her Indian mother, Satwant Shanti Johal, has vowed not to send her child back until the school implemented a multicultural, anti-racist programme. The school has said it already runs a number of anti-racist projects.
Many of the racists' targets have been vulnerable women and children including Alison Antoine, a black nurse, who was intimidated into leaving her home on the loyalist Rathkyle estate in Antrim Town in January. Racist graffiti and swastikas were daubed on to the front of her home.
Anti-racist campaigners last night said the overall figures showed there was a serious problem within loyalist communities regarding racism.
Davy Carlin, one of the founding members Anti-Racist Network in Northern Ireland, also called on unionist leaders to do more. 'Those figures do confirm that the majority of these attacks are happening in Protestant, mainly working class areas. Racist attacks do happen in both areas across the sectarian divide but we have to say the overt assaults are coming in Protestant areas.
He claimed that the figures 'seriously underestimate' the real number of attacks against immigrants and ethnic minorities across Northern Ireland.
'They are definitely unrecorded and unreported out of fear. Those people who have just come here to make a better life for themselves and their families are least likely to report them because they are outsiders in a new community.'
The Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities said the figures confirmed all their anecdotal evidence that most racist attacks were taking place in unionist areas.
Racist war of the loyalist street gangs