Muslims in Irish protest against IS atrocities

Muslims from different parts of the country are to hold a “Not in our Name” demonstration on Dublin’s O’Connell Street in protest against the atrocities inspired by terror group Islamic State.

Organisers said Muslims should not remain silent while the terrorists damaged Islam and sought to define it as a “barbaric religion”.

Community leaders said Islamaphobia was “increasing rapidly” due to the atrocities and pointed out that three Irish citizens had been murdered in the attack in Tunisia.

The Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council has called on Muslims to gather at O’Connell Street on Sunday, July 26 to demonstrate that “hatred and violence” could not be used in the name of Islam.

The council, a national representative Muslim body with a presence in Dublin, Cork, Athlone, Portlaoise and Belfast, said silence within the community may be wrongly interpreted “as a silent approval” of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).

Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, founder of the council and Imam at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Blanchardstown, west Dublin, said last Friday’s attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia had taken place during the holy month of Ramadan.

He said that of the 38 tourists murdered in Tunisia, three were Irish citizens. And he pointed out that the 38 people killed in a blast in Kuwait were Muslims, carried out by a suicide-bomber affiliated to ISIS. In the third attack, a man was beheaded by an attacker in Grenoble.

“Indiscriminate slaughter, public beheading and systematic starvation are all features of the murderous campaign by the so-called Islamic State,” Dr Al-Qadri said. “All these are absolutely against the teachings of Islam.”

He said: “It will be terribly wrong that in the face of the so-called “Islamic state” atrocities if we as Muslims remain silent at how Islam is wrongfully defined as a barbaric religion by these terrorists.” He added: “Our silence may wrongfully be interpreted by some as silent approval of ISIS.”

He said those who will gather at O’Connell Street will “demonstrate collectively that hatred and violence can never be justified in the name of Islam”.

So far, Muslim organisations attending include Al-Mustafa Islamic Educational & Cultural Centre Ireland, the Cork Muslim Foundation, the Jamiat Raudat us Soliheen Drogheda, and the Athlone Islamic Centre. Two of the three Irish victims, Laurence and Martina Hayes are from Athlone.

“With this protest we aim to highlight that Islam is a religion of Peace and show Ireland that all Muslims in Ireland condemn terrorism,” said the shaykh. 

Meanwhile, as the Tunisian government said it had arrested 12 suspected accomplices, British comedian and political activist Russell Brand blamed UK foreign policy for the atrocity.

Speaking on his YouTube video blog The Trews, he described the minute’s silence set to take place across the UK today as a “minute of bullshit”.

Britain has been engaged in foreign activity in Muslim countries which obviously provokes this kind of response,” he says, adding that it sells arms to countries perceived as a threat and that the UK’s response to the massacre will lead to further attacks.

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