Four Church leaders in Cork have united to condemn an attack on a Muslic cleric in the city last week.
In a show of inter-faith solidarity, the Cork ecumenical secretaries who represent the Catholic Church, Church of Ireland, Methodist Church, and Presbyterian Church, joined the imam of the Cork Muslim Foundation, Sheikh Ihab Ahmed, at the Blarney St mosque over the weekend for an iftar celebration — the evening meal enjoyed by Muslims during Ramadan.
Charles Payne represented Rev Geraldine Gracie from the Cork Methodist Church, Canon Daniel Nuzum represented the Church of Ireland, Valerie Fletcher represented the Cork Presbyterian Church, and Fr Christy Fitzgerald represented the city’s Roman Catholic Church.
Canon Nuzum said they were all horrified to hear of, and deplored the “most dreadful attack” on Imam Ihab Ahmed last week.
“As Christians we firmly believe there is no justification for any act of violence carried out for sectarian or any other reason,” he said.
Imam Ahmed suffered hand injuries after he was knocked down as he walked with his wife on Cathedral Rd on the northside of the city last Wednesday night.
He was in full clerical attire and his hat was stolen. He believes he was singled out because of his faith.
“I always wear my Islamic attire in the city and am hearing positive comments. This is the first time [I have been attacked like this]. It’s very strange. I am every sorry about what happened. I’m here 10 years and I didn’t feel any harm,” he said.
He also said his wife had been left very shaken.
Canon Nuzum said mutual respect is at the core of the faiths of the each of the ecumenical secretaries and that these are shared values between all the faiths.
“We welcome and cherish the openness of Imam Ihab and his welcome to us to share in the iftar meal with his Muslim community to celebrate the end of Ramadan each year.
“We hope and pray that the continuing developing relationship between our two faiths will foster a growing respect, mutual understanding and flourishing as fellow people of faith and citizens of our city of Cork.”
Imam Ahmed has been widely praised over the years for fostering openness, dialogue and understanding between members of the city’s Muslic community and other religions.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved