NORTHERN Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson retreated from earlier anti-Muslim comments today, insisting: “No part of me would want to insult or cause distress to local Muslims.”
The Democratic Unionist Party leader said that he will meet Muslim community leaders to express “ongoing support for them as integral law-abiding citizens.”
However, he offered no apology for original comments made in defending Belfast evangelist Pastor James McConnell’s right to denounce Islam.
Mr McConnell told his congregation on May 18 that Islam is “a doctrine spawned in hell” and that Muslim immigrants run terrorist cells.
Mr Robinson offered support on Wednesday both for the preacher’s right to speak and his sentiments.
When Deputy FM Martin McGuinness urged him to reconsider his racist and patronising comments, Mr Robinson responded: “I won’t take lectures from a self-confessed leader of a bloody terrorist organisation.”