Local people have been left outraged after a “terrorist” Halloween costume for children went on sale in a shop in Coleraine town centre.
The packaging on the outfit, which cost £15, features a picture of a young child dressed up in a long, curly black beard, Islamic-style headpiece, camouflage jacket and long-sleeved shirt.
The child in the picture is also featured with what appears to be “war paint” on his face and is holding his left hand up in a shielding gesture.
Inside the packet is a shirt, vest, trousers and a headpiece.
While the costumes have now been withdrawn from shelves in the pop-up store Coleraine’s Diamond Centre, the fact that they were deemed suitable to offer for sale to children has outraged local people.
“I don’t know what they were thinking,” said one woman, who did not wish to be named.
“With the recent spate of terrorist attacks across Europe in which many people have lost their lives, terrorism is hardly a matter for fancy dress costumes.”
Coleraine DUP Councillor Trevor Clarke also condemned the costume, which he described as “completely inappropriate.”
“It should not have been made available for sale, epecially as it was directed at the children’s market,” he stated.
“We have to be mindful of our own history in Northern Ireland and mindful of the many people who have suffered at the hands of terrorists.
“The sale of items of this sort is completely inappropriate.”
Cllr Clarke also said he felt the incident could harm community relations.
“It casts the Muslim community in a very negative light and it’s a very pointed example of stereotyping ethnic minorities in a way which is utterly inappropriate,” he continued.
“I think retailers have a duty to exercise caution and consideration in terms of anything they put on sale and I am glad that they have remedied this by withdrawing the item from sale.”
Coleraine PUP Councillor Russell Watton said he “couldn’t believe anyone would even try and sell anything like that to a child.”
“It should never have been on sale in the first place,” he stated.
“I will be taking this issue up with the council.
“I can’t imagine any parent wanting to put that on their child, I’m amazed.
“This would offend everyone, not just the Muslim commumity.”
Numerous attempts were made to contact the retailer involved, but there was no response.