Students ‘say no to rising level of hatred’

A new student group is organising an event at Dublin’s Spire this Saturday to highlight Islamophobia and far-right extremism in the wake of the recent terror attacks in New Zealand.

The organisation, Calling All Allies, says it hopes people will travel from around the country for the “gathering”, which will host a number of speeches.

Organisers stressed that the event — while involving Muslim students from universities — is for everyone, as it was highlighting shared concerns of “hatred” as well as marking the 50 lives lost in attacks on two mosques in Christchurch last Friday.

“Calling All Allies is a newly formed group of students from different universities across Dublin — students from the college Islamic societies and also different human rights groups, like LGBT,” said Ahmad Ryklief, a final-year student at DIT.

We have come together as one group. It’s not an Islamic group, but a group from different societies.

He said they were working in collaboration with the Islamic Foundation of Ireland (IFI), better known as the Dublin Mosque, on the South Circular Road.

The group posted on the IFI Facebook page and they are using IFI facilities to email mosques and organisations across the country, as well as inter-faith and anti-racism groups.

“We want to get as many people as possible to attend,” said Mr Ryklief, a student of mathematical sciences.

He said they wanted to show solidarity with the victims of the attacks.

“There was a very anxious reaction to New Zealand,” he said. “The reaction was: ‘We need to do something about this’. Hopefully it will not happen here.”

He said the attack felt “closer to home” as New Zealand and Ireland were similar in many ways: the overall size of the population; the size of the Muslim population; the good relationship between the communities, and the previous lack of such violence.

He said it should make people question any sense of “complacency” that it could not happen in Ireland.

“We need to raise awareness of this attack. We don’t want this to happen to us here, sitting in Friday prayer at a mosque and something like this happening.

“This is in solidarity with New Zealand and to stand up against Islamophobia and far-right extremism.”

But he said the issue was wider than just Islamophobia:

“This was an attack on a mosque, it’s the same as an attack on a church or a synagogue.

Yes, we are saying no to Islamophobia, but we are also saying no to racism, no to hatred, no to fascism. We are expecting Muslims and non-Muslims to attend, it’s for everyone.

Ahmad said that while far-right groups were small in size in Ireland, Islamophobia was a wider problem, which he said both himself and other Muslims have experienced.“I know many people who have experienced Islamophobia, especially ladies wearing headscarves,” he said.

He said people will be meeting at different universities at 3pm on Saturday and then gathering at the Spire for 5pm.

Tomorrow, the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council is holding a special memorial gathering at the Islamic Centre of Ireland in west Dublin for victims of the mosque terror attacks.

The event will take place on the Muslim holy day at the mosque in Coolmine Industrial Estate, Blanchardstown, between 1.30-2.30pm.

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