The members of the MME Council are shocked to hear the news that the building housing the Belfast Multi-Cultural Association (BMCA) has been damaged in a fire that required fifty firefighters to bring under control. We are heartened that there are no reports of any injuries, and our thoughts go out to the volunteers from the centre. This is a tragedy for the Association and for the wider community in this area to suffer such a loss. We hope and trust they will be able to return to the vital work they have been doing to help the community and hope positive civic and community support will help them prosper again.
Whilst we are dismayed at the possibility that this may have been a deliberate act, clearly the police investigation into the fire is at an early stage. It is a sad reflection on a small part of our society that a hate motive even has to be considered and we hope this turns out to simply be a unfortunate accident rather than a deliberate act.
Whatever conclusion the PSNI reach, we must be clear that there should be no room for acts of hatred in a city that has grown, and thrived, in diversity over the years since our historical conflict.
Today, 15 January, is the birthday of Dr Martin Luther King; and we can only echo his call for a community of equality, justice and solidarity, in which we come to live together for all our differences, in recognition of our mutual interdependence.
We are proud to join many, many others in extending our warmest wishes to all those affected by this unfortunate incident.
15 January 2021