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'WALES MUST UNITE AS ONE NATION FOLLOWING TERRORIST ATROCITIES IN US'

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The people of Wales must unite as one nation - regardless of religion or ethnic origin - following the terrorist at...
The people of Wales must unite as one nation - regardless of religion or ethnic origin - following the terrorist atrocities witnessed in America last week, assembly minister for finance, local government and communities Edwina Hart said today.

Condemning reports of racist abuse and 'revenge' assaults against Muslims and other minority groups in the UK following the attacks on the World Trade Centre and US Pentagon seven days ago, Mrs Hart has called for calm and peace in Wales.

She said: 'I ask the people of Wales to stay calm at this difficult time and come together as one community to mourn the loss of life of all the victims of this horror.

'We have an established Muslim community in Wales, along with people from other minority ethnic groups and they have contributed to Welsh society in a number of ways. The attacks on Muslim and minority people that have occurred is against the culture of Wales and the assembly's work on equality for all.'

Mrs Hart, who also chairs the assembly's committee on equality of opportunity, added: 'When people lash out and blame those who may look different to ourselves, that makes them no better than those who have committed this atrocious act.

'The terrorists attacked innocent men, women and children and those who were going about their everyday lives - racist attacks here are also upon those innocent of any crime. Many Muslims have also lost friends and relatives and we are all united in our grief at this time.'

Police have warned the Muslim community to be on their guard against 'revenge' racist attacks and patrols around mosques and Asian businesses are being stepped up. There have been a number of reports of racist attacks across the UK aimed at Muslims and minority ethnic people, mainly of Asian appearance, which have resulted in serious injury.

The national assembly has been represented at all meetings of the UK Civil Contingencies Officials' Committee and secretary of state for Wales Paul Murphy is in contact with assembly ministers to keep them updated on discussions in government on this matter.

Mr Murphy said: 'It must be recognised that the Muslim people living in Wales are decent law-abiding citizens who have condemned the attack of America and the horrendous loss of life. This is not a time for retribution against those who are innocent of any crime and are not responsible for these atrocities. We must stay calm and stay together as a community, protecting and respecting each other.

'I ask the people of Wales for their patience and allow the government to take the lead in seeking justice for the victims of the attack on America.'

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