Thursday 29 September 2016

Concerns raised over the threat posed by Islamic extremists ahead of royal visit

Published 10/05/2015 | 12:34

Khalid Kelly as seen in the US documentary film 'Holy Wars' Credit: Stephen Marshall
Khalid Kelly as seen in the US documentary film 'Holy Wars' Credit: Stephen Marshall

As security is stepped up ahead of Prince Charles’s historic trip to Ireland, concerns have been raised that Irish Islamic extremists may try to target the visit.

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In addition to the risk posed by dissident republicans, Gardai are believed to be monitoring a number of radicalised individuals who they fear may attempt to disrupt the poignant trip next week.

Among suspects thought to be under surveillance is Irish man Khalid Kelly, who was arrested, but released without charge, for alleged death threats against Barack Obama when the US president visited Ireland in 2011.

Read more: Massive security operation for Charles and Camilla's Irish trip

Converting to Islam in 2000 while imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, the 48-year-old is thought to have recently worked as a nurse in Syria before returning to Ireland.

The Irish Mail on Sunday reports that Mr Kelly knew Michael Adebolajo, the man who brutally killed British soldier Lee Rigby by knocking him down with his car before butchering him with a meat cleaver.

Read More: Prince Charles' itinerary for Irish visit will bring him to Galway, the Burren and Yeats' grave

Pictured alongside Mr Adebolajo at a demonstration in London in  2007, the 48-year-old told the Irish Mail on Sunday that: “I’ve seen that picture. I kind of knew him at the time of being around, I wasn’t really with him.”

Khalid Kelly pictured with Michael Adebolajo, in white skull cap
Khalid Kelly pictured with Michael Adebolajo, in white skull cap

“Everyone was a bit shocked, not by him killing a British soldier, but by the way [he did it] and then doing an interview afterwards.”

“I think that was more shocking than the Charlie Hedbo killing… I think everyone was like ‘no, there’s something not right’.”

In 2011, Khalid Kelly, born Terrence Edward Kelly in 1966, said he would have been happy if President Obama had been killed during his visit to Ireland.

“How could I now feel happy when a big enemy of Islam is gone?” he told the Irish Mirror at the time.

Read More: Charles plans Lord Mountbatten trip

Speaking to the newspaper at a mosque in Cavan, Mr Kelly, who recently changed his name, expressed his belief that Gardai were monitoring him ahead of Prince Charles’s visit.

“I am being monitored all the time. They are not sitting outside, but they are monitoring,” he said.

Asked about visiting Syria, he said “I grew up believing if someone is in trouble, you go and help them.”

“Born in Ireland, you were raised on stories of defending our own way of life, so why don’t Muslims have the same right to do it?”

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