'Islam does not accept any form of terrorism,' says Sheikh Halawa
AS gardai chased the ghost of London Bridge terrorist Rashid Redouen through his old Dublin haunts last week, debate raged and Muslim leaders in Ireland were again canvassed for their views on the dangers of Islamic extremism.
According to one newspaper headline, the leader of Ireland's largest mosque was not doing enough to "stamp out" Islamic radicalism. Sheikh Hussein Halawa, imam of the Clonskeagh Mosque, had even allowed himself to be "Facebook liked" by an extremist Muslim convert.
Sheikh Halawa doesn't do many interviews. He claims not to speak English well, although he came to Ireland from Egypt more than 20 years ago, and requires the services of a translator. We were told he was not available, yet there he was last Wednesday, chatting on the grand terrace of the impressive Islamic Cultural Centre. We were there to interview Dr Ali Selim, an Islamic expert and scholar who lectures in Arabic at Trinity College, and the usual spokesperson for the Clonskeagh Mosque - but Sheikh Halawa agreed to speak to us too.