Wednesday 21 August 2019

‘Vicious attack’ - Gardaí investigating burglary at Galway mosque

Shareef Mubashir, caretaker of Ahmadiyya Mosque in Galway surveys the damage (Niall Carson/PA)
Shareef Mubashir, caretaker of Ahmadiyya Mosque in Galway surveys the damage (Niall Carson/PA)

Gabija Gataveckaite

Gardaí are investigating a burglary at a mosque in Galway which caused “considerable” damage.

A mosque in the Ballybaan area of the city was vandalised in an attack on Sunday night which saw broken locks and windows.

Security camera equipment was also stolen from the building.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One, Imam Ibhrahim Noonan said that the Muslim community was suffering a targeted attack.

“This was a vicious attack, I really feel sorry for the people who did it,” he said.

“I’m not a very easy guy to scare, I’m pretty brave in my own way but now, I am yes worried every time I come to the mosque especially early in the morning.”

“Maybe the next time they’ll come in when we’re praying and attack us,” he said.

He described the scene when he walked into his mosque this morning.

“What we discovered was that my office windows at the front of the mosque were smashed open,” he explained.

“My office was completely destroyed, ripped open cupboards, destroyed everything in there, family photographs were thrown out of the mosque.”

He explained that some windows of the mosque were also smashed.

“They even they tried to tear off the window frames,” he said.

He said that he had received a phone call warning him of an attack several months ago.

“Some chap rang me and warned me that there was some Irish right wing group that was going to attack me and the mosque and he rang me to warn me,” he explained.

“He didn’t agree with the violence and he forewarned me.”

Imam Ibhrahim Noonan leads the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Galway and he said that he was going through a very difficult time.

“It’s very hard for me as an Irish man who embraced Islam, a peaceful community, to encouraging my own members who are from Pakistan, convincing them Ireland is not like this, doesn’t have this kind of behaviour,” he said.

“I have a tricolour in my office because I am a proud Irishman and they took the tricolour and threw it outside of the office, I mean no respect whatsoever.”

Gardaí are currently investigating the burglary and no arrests have yet been made.

“Gardaí are investigating a burglary that occurred in Ballybaan Co Galway,” said a spokesperson.

“A considerable amount of criminal damage was caused to the premises.”

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