Muslims give their blessing: Vast majority very happy here, says poll
THE vast majority of Muslims living in Ireland have integrated successfully into society and strongly reject Islamic extremism. An opinion poll carried out for the Irish Independent/RTE Primetime on Muslim attitudes reveals an extremely high level of tolerance among Muslims living in Ireland.
THE vast majority of Muslims living in Ireland have integrated successfully into society and strongly reject Islamic extremism.
An opinion poll carried out for the Irish Independent/RTE Primetime on Muslim attitudes - the first of its kind carried out here - reveals an extremely high level of tolerance among Muslims living in Ireland.
It found 73pc believe they are fully integrated into Irish society, with 77pc saying they feel accepted here.
But the poll, which was carried out by Lansdowne Market Research, shows a minority of the Muslim community hold more extreme views.
More than a third (36pc) would prefer Ireland to be ruled under Sharia law, while 37pc would like Ireland to be governed as an Islamic state. The survey shows Muslim youths hold the strongest views within the Islamic community on politics and religion.
It found 28pc of young Muslims aged between 16 and 26 believe violence for political ends is sometimes justified.
More than half of young Muslims (57pc) believe Ireland should become an Islamic State.
Almost one-in-five (19pc) said they "respect" al-Qa'ida terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden - but the same number of those polled supported US President George Bush. However, the findings generally reveal strong liberal opinions among Irish-based Muslims.
The majority (58pc) say they would be prepared to give up parts of their religion or culture if it conflicts with Irish law.
But traditions are still hugely important for Muslims. A huge majority (82pc) are opposed to any restrictions on women wearing the hijab, or Islamic veil, to work or school.
On the question of marriage, the poll reveals more than 58pc of Muslims would have no objections to a son marrying an Irish Catholic.
Almost a third (30pc) of those polled have no problem with children being raised in marriages with mixed religious influences.
According to the 2002 census, there were 19,147 Muslims living in Ireland, with males (61pc) outnumbering females (39pc) and more than half (51pc) living in Dublin. However, Ireland's Islamic population is now estimated to be almost 40,000.
Despite the generally positive feedback from Muslims living here, there are strongly conflicting views within the Islamic community with regard to fundamentalism in Ireland.
Shia leader Ali Al Saleh, a major figure in the Irish Muslim community, claims jihadi groups are actively recruiting here, according to a report on Primetime investigates last night.
He said Irish passports are turning up in Iraq and that terrorist atrocities are being openly celebrated by radicals in Dublin.
"We need to accept - yes - we have a problem in our community. We cannot deny that there is fundamentalism," he said.
But a senior Sunni official at the Clonskeagh mosque in Dublin, Ali Salim, disputed the claims and said he has not seen any extremism in Ireland.
Ciaran Byrne and Shane Doran