Northern Ireland

Pregnant woman targeted in east Belfast hate crime

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Media caption'Amina' has been speaking to the BBC's Peter Coulter

A pregnant Sudanese woman and her two young children, aged seven and one, have had to leave their home in east Belfast following a racially-motivated hate crime.

In the latest attack on their home, a number of rocks were thrown through the windows.

The woman has said she "can't stop her tears from pouring" and is worried about her children's safety.

The police have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

The woman, who we are calling Amina, is due to give birth next month. She said she has been unable to sleep or eat since the attack and is worried about the impact that it might have on her unborn baby.

Amina, her husband and children, moved into a hostel following the attack.

"We were out and when we came back, we found the police waiting for us and they told us that someone had broken the windows of the house," she said.

"There was glass everywhere. downstairs and upstairs.

Image caption Amina talks to BBC reporter Peter Coulter

"I just sat on the couch, I couldn't say anything."

In April, the couple had the windows of their car broken and have also previously had eggs thrown at their house and rubbish thrown into their yard.

"I had nightmares thinking that someone was after us and they wanted to hurt my family," she said.

"It's my responsibility to look after my kids and to keep them in a safe place, it's my responsibility to protect them."

Amina and her family are refugees and have been living in Northern Ireland for about two years.

Image caption Rocks were thrown through the windows of the house

She said the incident had had a huge impact on her children.

While Amina's daughter is too young to understand what has happened, she said her son had been upset by seeing the glass and seeing his mother crying.

"I tried to explain to my son as simply as I can. I told him there are some bad people in the world and they do bad things," she said.

"I want him to understand what is going on, it's important for him to know."

Amina said she had to try and explain to her son what a race hate crime was.

"I'm sure this will not be the last time he's going to experience this," she said.

Image caption The rocks used to smash windows at the family's home

"We have to be honest and rational. We are not from here and there are people who don't like foreign people living around them.

"I want him to understand this as soon as possible, so he can be ready for what might happen in the future."

The police have appealed for information.

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