Robinson’s desire to “build a united community” welcomed by Kyle Paisley

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On Tuesday Northern Ireland witnessed a rare thing – a public apology from a politician for a grave error. The patience of the offended party – the province’s Muslims – has at last been rewarded by the First Minister’s open acknowledgement of a serious aberration from good manners.

While it is said that confession is good for the soul, that doesn’t make it easy. The more glaring the offence, the harder it is to admit it – especially before a wide audience – as Peter Robinson has had to do. Thankfully he did not make things harder, as some men do, by spoiling his apology with an excuse.

Mr Robinson is right to say that he cannot go on apologising for the rest of his life. He proffered a private apology to Muslim leaders last week. He has apologised publicly this week. This is considerably more than some public representatives would do!

As Muslim leaders have accepted the First Minister’s apologies, there is no reason for anyone to continue the controversy sparked by the remarks he made last week. To continue the controversy would only add to the hurt felt by Northern Ireland’s Muslims, and is no help to political stability.

Peter Robinson’s expressed desire to “build a united community” is also to be welcomed. His call for the fast-tracking of a new Islamic Centre suggests that he is serious about the needs and concerns of minorities.

Hopefully Northern Ireland can move forward now. That is what the whole community craves. Let us pray that politicians of all parties will re-double their efforts to satisfy the people’s aspiration. May they have a baptism of God’s grace to that end.

(A shorter version of this article has been sent as a letter to the Belfast News Letter).


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  1. Kyle my dad was murdered by the uvf when I was 6, no condemnation from your dad or peter robinson. Are protestants murdered by loyalists ignored?

    • Kyle Paisley on

      Pip, I am sorry that you suffered such a terrible loss, in such a terrible way at such a young age. I would like to assure you that my father never condoned or encouraged murder. His record on condemning murder is well known. He was in the sights of loyalist paramilitaries himself, who held him in contempt for his criticism of their campaign of violence. You are right to say that Protestants murdered by Loyalists should not be ignored. Nobody should be ignored who has suffered at the hands of terrorists. I hope that those cases that have never been properly addressed will be addressed by the responsible bodies, Kyle.

  2. ‘Wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all the time’ according to Van the Man.

    But Kyle, maybe your time out of the country means you’re not up to speed on Robbo’s gymnastics expertise. He’s especially good with somersaults and u-turns, which he performs with great alacrity.

    All he needs is a wee nudge from the Orange Order or the UVF and he’s a totally different person.

    So don’t get your hopes up too high. I would love to be proved wrong, but time will tell.

    • Kyle Paisley on

      Sherdy, You are right – time will tell. I hope that all wrong influences in N. Ireland will be frustrated, Kyle.

  3. Rev Ernest Vewes on

    Sherdy, I think Kyle is a bit of gymnast himself. He is somehow trying to plead “please can we not mention this whole humiliating exposure of Unionism’s bigotry any further” on the basis that doing so would “add to the hurt felt by Northern Ireland’s Muslims”. Can we hear from either a Muslim, someone resident in Northern Ireland, or preferably someone meeting both criteria on that point, please?

    • Kyle Paisley on

      Had I really wanted to have avoided what you describe “this whole humiliating exposure of Unionism’s bigotry” I would not have highlighted it in the first place. Can’t understand your reasoning. I do like your name, though.

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