Friday 27 April 2018

'Small minority' of Irish Muslims are sympathetic to Isil

Broadcaster Baz Ashmawy during a Not in Our Name protest against Islamic State (IS) on O' Connell Street, Dublin.
Broadcaster Baz Ashmawy during a Not in Our Name protest against Islamic State (IS) on O' Connell Street, Dublin.

Shane O'Riordan and Mark O'Regan

The organiser of a rally against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has expressed his concern that a "small minority" of Irish Muslims are sympathetic to the terror group.

As many as 50 people, among them broadcaster Baz Ashmawy, braved rainy conditions on Dublin's O'Connell Street yesterday for the 'Not In Our Name' protest against Isil.

The rally took place a month to the day after the horrific Isil massacre in Tunisia, where three Irish people were among the 38 murdered.

Dr Shayk Umar Al-Qadri, the imam of the Al-Mustafa mosque in Blanchardstown who helped organise the protest, told the Irish Independent of his fears that some Irish Muslims were becoming radicalised.

"There is a small minority of Irish Muslims who identify with Isil but we need to prevent them from spreading their lies to the youth.

"There are silent supporters of extremism . . . We must isolate all those who do not condemn terrorism and who choose to remain silent."

He said it was "dangerous" not to speak out against Isil "because we're leaving space there for the radicals to radicalise youngsters".

Dr Al-Qadri said Isil must be denounced by the "vast majority" of peaceful Muslims.

"Extremism and violence have no space in Islam; it is not justified at all," he added.

Invitations to take part in the demonstration were distributed around the country, however Dr Al-Qadri said three people handed them back.

"Some three individuals said: 'We are Isis, are you going to protest against us?' . . . We as Muslims must condemn these people," he said.

Yesterday's demonstration took place under the banner of the Muslim Peace and Integration Council.

It is a month since Isil gunman Seifeddine Rezgui (23) murdered 38 tourists at the Tunisian resort of Sousse, among them Irish holidaymakers Lorna Carty from Robinstown, Co Meath, and Athlone couple Laurence and Martina Hayes.

In Britain, nine survivors of the massacre have instructed lawyers to begin investigations into the background of the atrocity. A key part of their case is that they were told by tour operators it was safe to travel to Tunisia.

However, according to one source, evidence has emerged that 50 different terror-related incidents have taken place in the country since 2013.

Irish Independent

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