5 February 2004 Edition

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Young racists target Indian family

An Indian family who recently moved to Bangor has been subjected to regular racial abuse from children as young as ten and plagued by young racists attacking their home with eggs and stones.

The devoutly Christian family has already endured a long line of attacks since they moved into their new home on Beechwood Avenue only three months ago.

Father of three Jacob Mulamoottil says at first he and his wife hoped the children and young people who were targeting their home would "just get bored and go away" but instead the attacks have gotten worse.

The family's three children — two girls aged ten and eleven and a boy aged five — have been subjected to a torrent of racial abuse from local kids, and the family has had their home pelted with eggs and both their front gate and front door kicked in by groups of young people.

Last week, PSNI officers stopped a group of schoolgirls who were on their way to the home with three cartons of eggs, and on Tuesday last, young bigots threw a rock through the family's front window, showering the two girls with glass as they sat inside doing their homework.

Their five-year-old brother, who had just been released from the Ulster Hospital, was lying ill on the settee at the time of the attack and became hysterical. The incident came in the same week that Belfast hosted a public rally against racism.

The family say they are even afraid to switch on a light lest they attract the attention of their tormentors.

"We are scared for our children," says Mulamoottil. "We can't even go out for a walk. We can't open our curtains, even when we had our Christmas tree in the window."

Meanwhile, anti-racism groups say the British Government is sending the "wrong message" to perpetrators of racially motivated attacks by failing in its pledge to fund support services for ethnic minority groups.

The Six County-based Council for Ethnic Minorities says that core funding for the black and ethnic minority sector will be removed from next year. Core funding for black and ethnic minority groups was established three years ago during devolution.

NICEM Executive Director Patrick Yu says the government's failure to guarantee funding will hinder the tackling of racism in society.

"The decision is not only sending out the wrong message to the perpetrators of the attacks but also into the wider society," said Yu. "It might reinforce the incidents of racism.

"I must emphasise that the terrible incidents in racism must be tackled, and the support of the infrastructure of minority ethnic sector is crucial to breaking that barrier."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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