Limerick imam would 'physically tackle terrorist as last resort to save lives'

Imam Abdullah Jaribu. Picture: Press 22

By David Raleigh

The Imam of a Limerick mosque has said he would, as a last resort, be prepared to physically tackle any terrorist using his religion to murder innocent people, if an attack were imminent.

Abdullah Jaribu said, while he did not promote or condone violence, he would take extreme measures if he came face to face with terrorists and there was "no time to wait for (gardaí)".

He said he would use, and would expect fellow Muslims to use "whatever means to stop" terrorists in their tracks, in emergency situations, in order to prevent loss of innocent lives.

Speaking at the Al Furqan mosque and community centre, Limerick, Jaribu said any form of Muslim radicalisation is not tolerated, and if discovered, the perpetrator would be weeded out, and "we would report (him) to gardaí".

However, if faced with an immediate threat from a terrorist source, the attacker should be "stopped by whatever means or by whatever it takes".

"If (he) is there to harm people we (could) take him down physically...Maybe we would not have time to wait for police," Jaribu said.

"If somebody is there to harm innocent people and you have the power to take him down, you would not wait for the police, you would take him down," he reiterated.

Jaribu said he is not aware of any evidence that anyone in the local Muslim community is involved in directing or radicalising others for the purposes of causing terrorist attacks.

A man arrested in Limerick last Monday on suspicion of possessing identification paperwork linked to London terrorist Rachid Redouane, and later released without charge, was not available for comment at his flat.

Gardaí do not suspect the man is involved in terrorism, and said he was questioned under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

Jaribu said he was "surprised" a person had been arrested in Limerick under such circumstances.

"I have no idea (who he is)," he said.

"In our community we have many people, (so), if we see anyone who has a radical mentality we will (stop it) very quickly and we will take care of (it)," Jaribu explained. "We don't have that type of (radical) mentality in our community at all."

The Limerick imam said he resided in Kinsale, Cork, after first coming to Ireland as a war refugee in 2005 from his native Darfur.

He has been an imam in Limerick since 2007, having lived there since 2006, and explained the local Muslim community has grown in numbers over the past few years.

"We have a lot of people...over 1,000. But attendance (at the mosque) here is (low) because people are working and studying. The numbers that turn up are few."

"The majority of them, 90%, are from Limerick. One or two are from Tipperary, but the majority are from Limerick."

The community moved from their first mosque on Limerick's O'Connell Street to Windmill Street in 2009 after their initial premises "became too small".

Jaribu said there is much ignorance about his religion, by non-believers as well as by those using Islam as an excuse to engage in terrorist acts.

He remarked how, when he passed two males on the street prior to giving the interview, they shouted "Isis" at him.

Jaribu said his message to young Muslims, is that their religion has nothing to do with spreading fear or causing death and destruction.

"They need to ask questions, (especially) if somebody is putting (radicalised) things online, then they need to sit down with their local imam and ask them questions," he said.

"The local imam is there to answer questions in order to prevent this type of radicalisation, which is happening," he added.

Those who engage in terrorist attacks in the name of his religion have been "radicalised and brainwashed", he said.

"Anyone with common sense" knows that killing innocent people "does not make sense", "whether you are a (Muslim) believer or not".

"What's the point in going and killing innocent people on the street? And you think you did a good deed? What type of good deed is that?"

Jaribu said he had witnessed enough bloodshed in Darfur, "where you see many dead people every day", and he did not want see more.

"(The war) was very bad. We ended up here and we got a warm welcome," he said.

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