Hindus and Jews have asked Northern Ireland First Minister Rt Hon Peter Robinson and his government to publicly apologize for reported failure to protect the Roma residents who were terrified and forced to flee their homes due to repeated racist violence.
Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu statesman; and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA; in a statement in Nevada today, asked, “What was the relevance of a government when its residents had either to live in constant fear of their lives or to leave for another country to an uncertain life of poverty, hopelessness and medieval conditions.”
Zed and Freirich argued that it was a blot on the face of Northern Ireland and rather the entire world when it failed to provide protection to few dozen families from racist violence because they looked different. And it happened in the middle of Europe, which claimed to be the torchbearer for the entire world regarding human rights. Is this the way in which the civilized societies functioned in Europe, they asked?
Hindu and Jewish leaders further said that José Manuel Barroso, President of European Commission, should immediately visit Romania to meet these displaced Roma, apologize, rebuild confidence, and then resettle them in Northern Ireland with security guarantees. European Union should also launch a thorough probe into these reported incidents of racist attacks and how the Northern Ireland government reportedly failed in its duty to provide protection.
Rajan Zed and Jonathan Freirich pointed out that even windows of the church, which provided shelter to the bewildered Roma, were smashed. Indian Community Centre in Belfast was also attacked and the Hindu priest and his family living there were so scared that they did not even speak publicly about the incident and were reportedly considering moving out. According to reports, besides Romanian; some Polish, Lithuanian, Hungarian, and Slovakian migrant families had also been forced out of the area in the last few months.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged the religious establishments and religious leaders of Northern Ireland to come out openly in support of minorities as religions told us to help the helpless.