South Belfast Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has expressed her sadness after a blaze at the Belfast Multi-Cultural Association left the building badly damaged.
More than 50 firefighters were needed to bring the fire at the Donegall Pass community organisation under control. Investigations are ongoing to establish whether the blaze was deliberate.
“My thoughts are with the Belfast Multi-Cultural Association. I know their volunteers worked extremely hard to establish their premises, and they do amazing work for many sectors of the South Belfast community,” said Ms Bradshaw.
“I am sure they are devastated today. If this was a deliberate attack, it would be the latest in a series of hate crimes. As recently as last September, I engaged with volunteers after their cars were deliberately damaged. This kind of Islamophobia is a blight on South Belfast.
“I am grateful none of the volunteers were injured in the fire, and I admire their determination to continue to serve their community in the face of adversity.
"I would ask people to avoid the area to give NIFRS and PSNI space to work today, so they are able to carry out their investigation.”