UCC stands against 'ignorant shameful hate' says president as lecturer receives threatening voicemail

UCC stands against 'ignorant shameful hate' says president as lecturer receives threatening voicemail
Amanullah De Sondy, Senior Lecturer In Contemporary Islam, UCC. Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

The President of University College Cork (UCC) says the university stands against “ignorant shameful hate” after a respected Muslim lecturer received a sinister voicemail calling for his execution.

Dr Patrick O’Shea made his comment after Amanullah De Sondy, a UCC lecturer in contemporary Islam, confirmed that he has reported the threatening voicemail to gardaí.

Mr De Sondy said he was shaken after listening to the message in which the caller described him as a “scumbag” and “a terrorist” who “must stop lecturing the Irish on how they should live their life”. The most chilling aspect, he said, was that the caller said: “I hope you are executed”.

The lecturer received a similar message in 2017 but insists he will not be intimidated by the latest incident.

Dr O’Shea was among dozens of academics, civic and religious leaders who took to social media to express support and solidarity with Mr De Sondy. In a tweet, he said: "We all stand together with you, and against ignorant shameful hate. You are a courageous friend, and a wonderful scholar and educator. We are honoured to have you as a colleague.” 

He has also written a personal email to Mr De Sondy expressing his outrage at the message and expressing the full support of the university for him.

UCC deputy president, Prof John O’Halloran, described the voicemail threats as “disgusting and not acceptable”. He said: “Please feel the fullest and strongest support at UCC where diversity is celebrated."

Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, said he was horrified to read about the abusive threats: “Since his arrival in Cork and UCC, he has been a positive force for good in our community, building bridges, creating opportunities for dialogue in our new and diverse Ireland. He warrants our support and encouragement."

Rev Daniel Nuzum, healthcare chaplain at Cork University Hospital, the Bon Secours Hospital and Marymount, and adjunct lecturer at UCC’s College of Medicine and Health, described Dr De Sondy as a courageous, generous and inspiring thinker as well as a leading light in UCC and “a good friend and support to those of us who are Christian”.

“That he received this intimidating voicemail is shameful and criminal,” he said.

Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty Ireland, also send a message of support: “I honestly believe that the best way to counter such hate is with love. Keep doing what you are doing, it’s great to see all the support and appreciation coming your way.”

Earlier this week, Mr De Sondy said he was concerned that Islamophobia isn't being condemned in Ireland and believes Islamophobic abuse and attacks are being fuelled by a “sophisticated network” of individuals whose rhetoric is being acted upon by a broader set of individuals.

He said he expressed his concerns in writing to local politicians but the only one who replied in writing was Tánaiste Simon Coveney with a “positive and hopeful message”.

“I believe in holding leadership to account for diversity and inclusion,” Mr De Sondy said.

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