SECTARIAN throwbacks of the Orange Order have caused outrage after images emerged yesterday of members dressed up for halloween in a variety of offensive outfits.
A snap from fancy-dress competitions at one of the ultraconservative British unionist organisation’s lodges in Airdrie showed a man and woman dressed as Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun accompanied by children dressed in rags with a yellow star of David.
Another photo showed a man dressed as the Pope with a noose round his neck, while another competitor had blacked up, wearing an Afro wig, straw skirt and bones around their neck.
Two members were portrayed as sexually assaulting a cuddly toy dressed in a Celtic shirt.
Director of anti-sectarian charity Nil By Mouth Dave Scott said the images were “breathtaking in their ignorance,” adding that “anyone who thinks it is humorous to dress up like Hitler and have kids appear alongside dressed as Jewish children headed for a concentration camp lives on another planet.”
Mr Scott called on the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland to take action against members involved.
Show Racism the Red Card education worker Gillian Eunson said the behaviour was “racist,” “unacceptable and offensive.”
The Facebook group where the photos appeared to promote the activities of the Orange Order has been deleted but details have been forwarded to police.
The revelations have sparked fears about what forces could be unleashed following Prime Minister Theresa May’s grubby deal to maintain a parliamentary majority with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which commands strong support among the Orange Order.
A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said the photographs revealed an “extremely disturbing and hateful attitude towards Catholics and other faith minorities” and warned official figures showed that religious hate crime was at a four-year high.
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “The information has been passed to relevant officers to establish the facts and identify any criminality.
Police Scotland takes all reports of hate incidents seriously and will investigate such reports appropriately and proportionately.”
The Orange Order took to social media to condemn the bad press as a “baseless agenda to attack and demonise our Protestant culture and heritage.”