Monday 24 July 2017

'Extremists free to spread their cancer of hate in a safe haven'

Forensics officers at a property in east London yesterday following a raid. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Forensics officers at a property in east London yesterday following a raid. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Alan O'Keefe

An Imam has warned that an Islamic extremist terrorist attack could happen in Ireland and a "cancer of hate" is being allowed to flourish in some Irish Muslim communities.

Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, of the Islamic centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin, said last night that he has warned repeatedly that more needs to be done to stop young Muslims being radicalised in Ireland.

He said the London Bridge atrocity and reports one of the killers had lived in Dublin were "absolutely shocking and worrying".

"But it's something that I have been saying for the past few years and now it's confirmed," he told the Irish Independent.

"I have been warning publicly that in Ireland there are individuals that are extremists and somehow they are being provided with a safe haven by certain Muslim leaders.

"By safe haven I mean that they are not being called out, they are not being identified, they are not being excluded, not being excommunicated from the community.

Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri. Photo: Gerry Mooney

"In fact, they have the freedom to come to the mosques to spread their cancerous ideology to others in the Muslim community."

Asked if a terrorist attack could happen in Ireland, he replied: "I believe that these extremists live in Ireland.

"This is a safe haven for them. So it would be very stupid of them to actually do something here because they would be raising the alarm and everything would be uptight, the security, and all that.

"But I think, at the moment, they have so much hatred that I would say that it is possible and God forbid that it happens. That would be my greatest concern."

Dr Al-Qadri said he did not know Rachid Redouane, who spent a period living in Rathmines in south Dublin.

Meanwhile, residents in leafy Rathmines have expressed their shock and surprise after it emerged Redouane had lived in the area in recent times.

Sue Manchesney (44), of Rathmines, said: "I think it's really scary that he lived here. It's such a small community.

"My husband is French and tells me an attack can happen anywhere.

"His brother lived over a restaurant in Paris that was attacked by terrorists and a lot of people he knew were killed in the restaurant.

"It's very worrying to think one of the attackers could be living on our own doorstep. London, Dublin, or anywhere in the world could be next to be attacked."

Claire O'Dwyer (24), a researcher who lives in Rathmines, said: "I don't believe that the fact one of them was living in Rathmines makes this area any less safe than anywhere else.

"You are much more likely to be killed crossing the road than being killed by a terrorist.

"I don't think that people should be feeling any more fearful after getting the news one of them lived here.

"I think the chances are really low that anything will happen here."

IT specialist Gareth Wescott (34), who is originally from the UK, said it will take leadership to curb extremist ideologies spreading.

He added: "I am a Londoner who has been living in Rathmines for the past 10 years.

"I'm surprised at the news about him living in Rathmines but I wouldn't feel over-alarmed about it.

"I grew up in a very diverse neighbourhood in London and I don't think anyone here should feel any panic.

"We need balanced responsible leadership now and I think that is lacking when you think about the tweets of Trump, who just creates more divisions."

Irish Independent

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