A teenager needed hospital treatment for facial injuries after he was attacked by a group of youths at a fast-food restaurant in north Belfast.
Police said the 13-year-old boy was with two friends when they were surrounded and asked their religion and where they were from.
He was then kicked and punched. Police are treating the incident, which happened in Brougham Street at around 5.30pm on Sunday, as sectarian.
Calls have been made for calm in the community.
The DUP's Brian Kingston said he spoke with the victim's mother, who said one of the gang made a derogatory comment that they "must be Protestants" before kicking and punching the boy.
He said the attack was a "deplorable hate crime by a cowardly sectarian bunch".
The North Belfast MLA: "Such sectarian attacks must have consequences for the perpetrators and I urge anyone with information to pass that on to the police."
He said the attackers must "be brought to justice".
"Those who carried out this attack are condemned by their own actions.
"Whilst they may be seeking to escalate tensions in north Belfast, we would appeal for calm and for all efforts across the community to be put into bringing those responsible to justice.”
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