Irish Muslims launch anti-radicalism charter for speakers

A Muslim peace body is to launch an ‘Anti-Extremism Declaration’ today in a bid to “stop the seeds of radicalism” spreading in Ireland.

The declaration, drawn up by the Irish Muslim Peace and Reconciliation Council, requests foreign speakers coming to Ireland to sign a statement, saying they:

  • Unequivocally condemn all terrorism committed in the name of Islam;
  • Will not promote foreign conflicts or encourage people in Ireland to participate in them;
  • Respect religious tolerance and non-sectarianism;
  • Respect equality, including gender and sexual orientation;
  • Support democracy and encourage Irish Muslims to participate in society.

Shaykh Umar al-Qadri, chairman of the council, will officially launch the declaration at a seminar on radicalisation at Trinity College Dublin.

The guest speaker is Shaykh Fakhruddin Owaisi, chair of the Council of Sunni Imams in Cape Town, South Africa, where he is also head of religious studies at the International Peace College. He runs anti-radicalisation training programmes among Muslims.

The seminar is being facilitated by Trinity’s school of ecumenics.

“From my experience one of the reasons why some elements of radicalisation and extremism can be found within the Muslim community is from foreign speakers,” said Shaykh al-Qadri, who is also the head imam of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre Ireland.

He said most foreign speakers who have come to Ireland in the last 10 years come from the ultra-conservative Salafi background, which, he said, is the Saudi interpretation of Islam.

On the back of the terror attacks in Belgium, Turkey, and Pakistan, Shaykh al-Qadri said now is the time to be open and to “challenge these extremists”.

He said: “The overwhelming majority of the Muslim community has been too silent for too long.

“We should encourage speakers, but we do not want radical elements. We want the positive experience of Muslims here to continue and ensure that extremism and radicalism does not become a major issue and that the Muslim community does not become isolated.”

He added: “If we don’t take steps now, we could end up like Belgium and France.”

He said while these countries had specific “social, political, and economic issues”, they had also suffered from foreign speakers.

“We need to prevent the seeds of extremism and radicalism... this is a major issue... and stop the seeds from spreading into the ground.”

For full declaration see impic.ie

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