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Saturday 17 February 2018

Some Muslims don't integrate well and language can be a barrier

Abderrahmane Raguragui (46), nursing home care worker, Dublin

Abderrahmane Raguragui. Photo: John Meagher
Abderrahmane Raguragui. Photo: John Meagher
John Meagher

John Meagher

The Moroccan native has been living in Ireland since 2001 and has long considered this country to be his home.

"People are generally very accepting here," he says. "I think if you asked most Muslims living in Ireland, they would say there's a greater tolerance in this country than elsewhere. It has a very good reputation. My 93-year-old father used to come here every six months in the years leading up to his death last year and he loved the place and how friendly and warm everyone was to him."

The father-of-three - including a 17-year-old daughter, Marwa, who he proudly says is a black belt in the Korean martial art of tae kwon do - is hoping to undertake a masters in integration studies at Trinity College. "There are great opportunities for the Muslim community to integrate in this country, but I believe the Government should do more to help people to integrate.

"I really want to give back to society and there should be a greater incentive for new people to Ireland to be able to work straight away. Unfortunately, some Muslims don't integrate well and language can be a barrier."

Raguragui goes to his local mosque in Clonskeagh, Dublin, each Friday and enjoys the camaraderie among Muslim "brothers and sisters". He hasn't experienced any sectarianism himself, but says he knows of other Muslims who have encountered "light racism".

He says he abhors terrorist atrocities carried out in the name of Islam around the world, but believes Irish people are unwilling to tar all Muslims with the same brush. He suggests that this country's recent history - where the IRA's bombing campaign in the UK led to some British people demonising an entire nation - may help with that ability to recognise that radicals are a world apart from ordinary Muslims.

"And, don't forget, groups like Isis are killing Muslims too. They are not discriminating."

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