Watch: Anti-Islam group in clash with counter-protesters at mosque
SMALL groups of anti-Islam demonstrators clashed with protesters against racism outside a Dublin mosque.
A group of about 12 people claiming to represent 'Anti-Islam Ireland' gathered outside the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland on Roebuck Road, Dublin 14, at 2pm yesterday.
They were met by a larger gathering of anti-racism demonstrators, numbering between 90 and 120 people. Among their number was Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.
Anti-Islam Ireland last week used its Facebook page and another page called "Irish Voice" to declare that the protest would take place. Both pages have since been taken from public view and are only visible to Facebook users added to the group by an administrator.
Event organiser Sandra Archer said their aim was to highlight what she called the "wrongdoing of the Islamic faith across the world".
Ms Archer claimed that a larger number of protesters had gathered earlier in the day at their original meeting place, but many had been scared away by "republicans" who threatened the group with violence.
The group later claimed their "freedom of expression" was curtailed by the counter-protesters yesterday.
There were a small number of scuffles between demonstrators and threats were exchanged between the two groups. An Anti-Islam Ireland poster was pulled down by anti-racism demonstrators and torn up.
However, there was a large garda presence and the event passed largely without incident.
Gardaí say the Anti-Islam Ireland group asked for protection when leaving, and they were escorted away.
Members of the mosque had earlier approached anti-Islam protesters and offered them tea, coffee and dates.
Head of Community Welfare Department at the Mosque Summayah Kenna said: "It is tradition in Islam to distribute dates in welcoming.
"We do this whether it be a positive or negative meeting.
"We are disappointed with the protest but, of course, we always support the right to freedom of speech," she added.
Waleed Fahmy - who is originally from Egypt, but who has been living in Ireland for the past 30 years - said he felt the views of the protesters were a long way off reflecting those of the Irish people.
He said: "Muslims here have been shown a lot of love by the Irish community."
"I am Irish," he added. "That's how I see myself.
Gardaí praised the behaviour of both sides as the protest passed off without major incident.