Wednesday 23 October 2019

Gardai investigate attack on Muslim teenager

No arrests have been made.

Gardai are investigating (Niall Carson/PA)
Gardai are investigating (Niall Carson/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

Gardai have launched an investigation after a Muslim teenager was allegedly attacked and had her hijab removed during an incident in Dublin.

Video footage posted online shows the girl being forced to the ground by a group of young people in Dundrum.

It was also claimed she was hit with a number of eggs.

Gardai confirmed they are investigating the alleged assault, which happened on Main Street on Sunday at around 3.30pm.

A garda spokeswoman said: “No arrests have been made and investigation is ongoing.”

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan was among those who condemned the incident.

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Culture Minister Josepha Madigan (Rebecca Black/PA)

She tweeted: “I condemn in the strongest possible terms the assault on a Muslim girl who had her hijab taken from her in Dundrum village.

“I hope the perpetrators are brought to justice quickly.”

Pippa Woolnough, communications and advocacy manager at the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said: “No one should face abuse or violence because of their religion or their ethnicity.

“The reports about the alleged attack are appalling. The Immigrant Council would like to see effective hate crime legislation introduced so perpetrators and their victims can see justice being done.”

Green Party TD Catherine Martin said: “This is absolutely appalling. We must stand firm against any and all racism.

“Violence like this stems from racist rhetoric. Words become actions.

“We must condemn racism at all levels if we want to stop violence and discrimination taking hold.”

Dr Ali Selim, a leading figure in the Irish Muslim community, condemned the attack and called for hate crime legislation to be introduced.

He said: “It’s a shock to everybody living in Ireland. If this is happening in the middle of the day and in this area, where would you let your children go to?

“Most people have been really supportive on social media. Very few individuals are critical about the situation, but that gives the general impression of the situation in Ireland.

“The mainstream are pro-cohesiveness and pro-justice and equality for everyone, regardless of your faith and race. It is our responsibility to maintain this cohesiveness.

“There is a desperate need for hate crime legislation in Ireland. We didn’t have that in the past and that is understood because in the past Irish society was made of one and the same group.

“Today we have a wide range of diversity and faiths in various communities and that enhances the need to have hate crime legislation to prevent such incidents from happening again.

“I’m sure the gardai will take prompt action. If they are more visible on the streets that will curtail any opportunities for such acts to be repeated.”

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