Site to help young Irish Muslims avoid radicalisation
Ireland's Islamic community is to spearhead the fightback against radical fundamentalism after a top Imam admitted there has been a surge in Islamophobia nationwide in the wake of recent terror attacks.
Shaykh Dr Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri launched a website for Irish Muslims aimed at helping youngsters to avoid radicalisation and to allow those concerned about so-called 'Jihad messages' from radical preachers at Irish mosques to raise the alarm.
The website - www.jihad.info - was launched at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) where Dr Al-Qadri warned that Irish people needed to realise that Islam was a religion of peace and tolerance and not violence.
He admitted it was a particularly difficult time for Irish Muslims who were fast becoming a target of hate attacks.
"People feel very isolated and very worried," he told the Irish Independent. "Just this week I had a woman, the wife of a very senior Dublin doctor, call to me at my home because she had missed me at the Islamic Centre," he said.
"She was very upset because she had received a letter from a neighbour and it was truly shocking.
"She has been here for 20 years with her husband, they live in a nice estate, they are very well integrated and are very quiet, peaceful people. But this letter told her she was 'a neighbour of hell' and to go back to where she came from."
Dr Al-Qadri confirmed that he had personally been the subject of abuse just outside the Al Mustafa Islamic Centre in Dublin.
"It is very important that people understand that Islam is a religion of peace.
"The true meaning of Jihad is actually very noble - it is a personal struggle for good. But that has been hijacked by radicals for their own purposes."
The new website aims to help prevent young Irish Muslims from being brainwashed by radical fundamentalists and from seeking to join the flow of fighters to Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan.
Dr Al-Qadri said that groups such as al-Qa'ida and Isil skilfully exploited the potential of the internet and social media to spread the message of radicalism to vulnerable youngsters.