The head imam of the Islamic Centre of Ireland said he is shocked and appalled by the attack in Nice, but that as a society we must reflect deeply on its causes.
Shaykh Umar al-Qadri added we need to respond wisely to the event and think about how to treat those on the margins of our society.
“As citizens of the EU, Muslims are citizens of Europe. We are shocked and appalled when an attack takes place and our thoughts are with the friends and family of all affected in this attack which targeted innocent people.
“Similar innocent people have been targeted and lost their lives. We need to think deeply about why these attacks are taking place, we need to look at the causes of these attacks, particularly in the case of France.
“This is not the first attack in France, in the past 12 months alone there have been three attacks in France it’s important to notice why these attacks are happening in France,” he told the Irish Examiner.
Dr al-Qadri said we must embrace every minority in our society in order to prevent further radicalisation.
“What I understand is that we need to embrace everyone in our communities and embrace those vulnerable to radicalisation and minorities.
“These attacks take place by people who feel they don’t belong and hate will not defeat hate, love will defeat hate,” said the imam.
Dr Al-Qadri urged leaders and members of society in general to be “wise” in their response to the attack in Nice.
“We need to be wise in our responses. We should have the response that unites people in love,” he said.
The imam explained that he had been invited to the French embassy in Dublin to celebrate Bastille Day, noting how many Muslims feel they belong in France.
“France was having its independence day and I was invited to the French embassy, so many Muslims are part of France, they belong to France, so many Muslims have a sense of belonging but there are also those who don’t have that sense of belonging.
“A community of cohesion is how we defeat this. One of the aims is to divide communities, Muslims are not the problem, Muslims are alive in the war against terrorism. We have had these attacks throughout the Muslim world, Muslims are suffering themselves,” Dr Al-Qadri said.
“There are communities that do feel genuinely marginalised, they do have this sense that they do not belong, that is a failure of government. They feel they don’t have the same opportunities,” he said.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Ireland also offered their condolences yesterday and condemned the “barbaric” attack.
“Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Ireland and worldwide offer their deepest condolences to the people and government of France. The victims, their families and the French nation affected by these barbaric attacks, are in the prayers of the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community,” said Dr Nauman Iftikhar, spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Ireland.
“All forms of terrorism and extremism are completely against the true teachings of Islam. The Holy Koran has said that to kill even one innocent person is akin to killing all of mankind,” he said.
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