Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan has said that in comments made by Peter Robinson this morning regarding the trustworthiness of Muslims, the First Minister was not speaking for him.
Mr Kinahan, who is a member of the Stormont all-party group on Ethnic Minorities said:
“Mr Robinson’s comments which were broadcast this morning regarding Muslims have caused a great deal of hurt and offence to many people.
“Mr Robinson outlined a number of areas in which he would not trust Muslims but said that he would trust them to "go down to the shops' for him" or to with a number of other "day to day issues".
“I do not believe that sweeping generalisations can be applied to an entire religion encompassing many hundreds of millions of people worldwide and I seriously doubt that such sentiments will play well in a number of countries from which Invest NI are seeking to attract much needed jobs and investment.
“Public representatives must be mindful that their comments can have consequences, often unintended ones.
“Recent months have brought an upsurge in disgraceful racist attacks, particularly in Belfast and we must all work together to reduce racism. I believe that elected representatives have a duty to provide leadership and to refrain from comments which could inflame an already difficult situation or provide any kind of cover for the activities of those who seek to attack minority communities.
“I believe that Peter Robinson’s comments this morning fell far short of what we expect of a First Minister, who should represent all of our citizens, regardless of race, or creed.”