Northern Ireland

Parades Commission complaint over 'jihad' comments

The Parades Commission has written to the Presbyterian Church complaining about comments made by one of its ministers.

The commission ordered Orangemen to only play the hymn Abide With Me as they passed a nationalist area.

Ballymacarrett District Lodge, of which Reverend Mervyn Gibson is chaplain, responded by saying it was an "action worthy of the Taliban".

Rev Gibson said the commission was "fanning the flames of division".

The lodge statement also accused the commission of "having a jihad or holy war against the loyalist people of east Belfast".

The commission has written to the Presbyterian Church and said it was "disappointed by the use of intemperate and inflammatory language" and described the remarks as inappropriate.

It also claimed the comments would cause potential offence to those who adhere to Islam.

A church spokesman said they had acknowledged receipt of the letter and would give a considered response in due course.

Mr Gibson, who is also the minister of Westbourne church, has refused to comment.