Tuesday 21 January 2020

'These people do not represent Islam' - Dublin community's horror at London attack

Mohamed Aissani originally from Algeria near the former home of Rachid Redouane Photo: Tony Gavin
Mohamed Aissani originally from Algeria near the former home of Rachid Redouane Photo: Tony Gavin
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A Muslim man who lives in the same area as London Bridge terror killer Rachid Redouane has told of his shock at the horror attack.

Redouane was living in Rathmines, South Dublin when he married Charisse O'Leary on November 7, 2012.

The well-kept property on the corner of the quiet leafy suburb seems in stark contrast with the image of the man who would gang up with two others to kill, maim and butcher scores of innocent people in last Saturday night's atrocity.

There was nobody at home in the building today when Independent.ie called, and neighbours who did answer said they could not remember him.

But his marriage certificate shows that it was at this address in the Square that Redouane made his home with O'Leary.

The marriage document shows that Redouane was born on July 31, 1986, the son of Kabboura Warsaq and Lahcen Redouane.

His occupation is listed as a pastry chef.

Charisse Ann O'Leary, who split with Redouane later and who publicly denounced the Manchester suicide bombing, was born in July 1978.

The couple had one child together.

Their marriage took place in the Registrar's Office at Sir Patrick Duns Hospital on Lower Grand Canal Street in Dublin 2, witnessed by Charisse's mother and a man named Khalil Chadili.

Muslim neighbour Mohamed Aissani, who has lived in the area for ten years and is now an Irish citizen, said he did not recognise the picture of Rachid Redouane and thinks he only lived in Rathmines for a short time.

"If he was from the Algerian community I would know him because I am of Algerian myself. I know a few guys who are North African but this guy in particular I believe he did not live here for long," he said.

He said he was shocked that someone like Redouane could carry out the attack he was involved in.

"I am a Muslim myself, and Islam is against this. These people do not represent Islam or their country. This is against religion, this is a personal act, nothing to do with religion," he said.

"Some people might think that because a terrorist act never happened here that Ireland might be a place where there are sleeping cells, which this guy sounds like he was from, but I don't think Ireland is a place with sleeping cells. This is my opinion, but I'm sure the authorities in this country know what they are doing.

"So far, because Ireland wasn't hit by terrorism, I think this shows the authorities are doing a good job to protect the people, both foreign and Irish, because terrorism doesn't care where you are from. Terrorism hits Muslims themselves," he added.

Asked if he thought the attitude of Irish people to Muslims has changed since the recent upsurge in terror attacks in the U.K. Mohamed said some people's attitudes have changed, but not in general.

"Most Irish people are educated enough to know that these acts don't represent Muslims or Islam. Muslims have been living in Ireland for so many years, and love this country - I have lived in Ireland more than my own country," he said.

Alex Harkness (25), who lives in the basement flat of the house, said it is a bit scary that someone who committed such murder could have lived in the house before her, but that it "wasn't too surprising in this day and age".

"I wondered why there were all these cameras outside and I haven't really read the news this morning, so we figured out there must be something happening in this area," she told reporters.

"On the inside the house has been all cleaned out since it was renovated, so you wouldn't know anything of its past.

"It's going to be a mental processing thing now that we know he lived here," she added.

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