Saturday 29 November 2014

Judge asks for 'forgiveness' and apologises for ‘incorrect’ Muslim remark

Published 29/03/2014 | 15:25

Judge Anthony Halpin: warned of a 'total breakdown of social order'
In a statement issued today, he said; “I would like to state that nothing could be further from the truth.”

A district court judge has apologised for his ‘unfortunate and incorrect remark’ in court when he said that ‘Muslims think they can actually beat their wives’.

Migrant groups urged the Judge Anthony Halpin to withdraw his comment after he made the remark in Tallaght District Court on Thursday.

Judge Halpin has said that he ‘had no intention of referring to, or offending Muslims or their religion’ and apologised for the hurt caused and asked for their ‘forgiveness’.

In a statement issued today, he said; “I would like to state that nothing could be further from the truth.”

“ I accept that I made the remark, but what I intended to say, and should have said, was that people who beat their partners do not appreciate the provisions of safety or protection orders, and they need intervention and education in that regard.”

The Immigrant Council of Ireland had called on the Judge to withdraw the remark.

“While we have not seen the court record the remarks as reported to us are disappointing, wrong and offensive.

“People in positions of authority in the community have a particular duty not to feed racism or xenophobia, this applies to politicians, local media commentators and members of the judiciary. The remarks should either be withdrawn or clarified as a matter of urgency,” a spokesperson said.

Junior Minister Joe Costello said the judge should clarify the remark.

“It certainly was a gratuitous statement and on the surface it sounds insulting and gratuitous and he should immediately clarify the remarks,” Mr Costello told the Herald.

Dr Taufiq Al Sattar said the comments were in contradiction to all religious teachings.

“No religion says you should hurt anybody and no religion says you should harm anybody. We all have to be tolerant. We all have to compromise

“No religion says you hurt anybody, not your wife or your neighbour or anyone. This is common sense,” the cleric, who established a prayer centre in west Dublin, said.

Judge Halpin, who started sitting in the Tallaght court in September 2011, made the comments in relation to Muslims during the case of Khadar Younis (46),of Belfry Hall in Citywest, Dublin, who had denied breaking into his divorced wife's home while she was asleep in bed. He also pleaded not guilty to breaking a protection order and being in the possession of a knife while in the house.

The court heard that his former wife, Kara Ibrahim, wanted to drop the case, saying Younis was a good father to their four children, but not a good husband to her.

Defence solicitor John O'Leary told the court that his client had been divorced by a Muslim cleric under the Qur'an.

Judge Halpin responded, saying: “I think Muslims feel they can actually beat their wives”.

Mr O'Leary said there was no suggestion of a physical assault and Ms Ibrahim then said that she wanted to drop the case.

Ms Ibrahim had alleged that her former husband also threatened her, telling her: “If you shout or do anything, something will happen to you”.

She had also claimed she was really scared of her ex-husband, saying he thought he could just come into her house.

The judge put the case back for six months with the intention to resume it or strike it out advising Ms Ibrahim to call the gardai if there were any more breaches.

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