An incident whereby a group dressed up as the Ku Klux Klan is being investigated by police as a hate crime.
Photos have emerged of a group of people in County Down dressed in the offensive robes.
The photos which have been widely condemned were taken outside an Islamic Centre in Newtownards.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, the Police Service of Northern Ireland is investigating the "hate incident".
Inspector Richard Murray told the outlet, "We are also aware of images that are circulating that show people dressed as Ku Klux Klan members."
If there's an image to chill the blood, this is it. This is #NorthernIreland in 2018 - not Alabama in the 1950s. #KuKluxKlan https://t.co/nTK66KmgxK— Alison Begas (@kamfinsa) October 29, 2018
"Hate crime, in all its forms, is totally unacceptable. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that we live in a society where diversity is respected."
Pictured: Disgraceful scenes in #NorthernIreland town - Gang dressed as Ku Klux Klan outside Islamic centre https://t.co/rnzCIjo3mZ pic.twitter.com/Jxc0iGbI4e— Belfast Telegraph (@BelTel) October 29, 2018
The images show up to ten people in "threatening poses". They began to circulate on social media on Saturday night.
"Some people might try to say they were out for Halloween but I'd have to say if that's the case then these are certainly not the most appropriate costumes to be wearing. It is not appreciated by our community, it is not funny and it should definitely not be treated as a joke," Strangford Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong said.
Muslims in Northern Ireland make up 0.2% of the population. Despite living peaceful, well integrated lives, they've had to tolerate both the DUP and Britain First spreading anti-Muslim hate, a severed pigs head at the mosque and now... the KKK. https://t.co/BhLmSV9RZO— Mo Ansar (@MoAnsar) October 29, 2018
CCTV cameras outside the Islamic center has reportedly captured footage of the incident.
In 2017, a severed pigs head was left on the doorstep of the same center, prompting outrage in the local community.
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