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After centuries of sectarian division and fighting, could Northern Ireland be facing a new round of bigotry and violence?

Monday marks the highlight of the traditional marching season in Northern Ireland when Protestants celebrate their 17th century military victory over Irish Catholics with parades.

In the past, the parades have raised sectarian tensions and sparked violence between Protestant and Catholic communities.

Now, after years of relative calm following the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement, a group calling themselves the Ulster Young Militants has threatened Polish, Indian and Muslim associations.

Telling them to vacate or risk having their buildings "blown up" the Ulster Young Militants also warned the minority communities that "Northern Ireland is only for white British".

The threats come on the heels of a series of attacks against immigrants in South Belfast. In the most serious event so far, the homes of Romanian families were stoned and had their windows broken over several nights.

Eventually the Romanians were relocated for their safety and most have now been returned to Romania.

On Monday's Riz Khan show, we look at rising racial tensions in Northern Ireland and ask who is driving the bigotry and what can be done about it?

Joining our programme from Belfast are Esmond Birnie, an Ulster Unionist Party politician and former Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for South Belfast, Alex Maskey, a Sinn Fein politician and former Lord Mayor of Belfast and current MLA for South Belfast, and Peter Shirlow, the director of education at Queen's University Belfast School of Law and a leading researcher and author on the region's sectarian divisions and violence.

This episode of the Riz Khan show aired from Monday, July 13, 2009. 

Source: Al Jazeera