Judge apologises for ‘unfortunate’ Muslim remark

A judge who caused outrage after claiming that “Muslims feel they can actually beat their wives” has apologised unreservedly for the “un-fortunate” remarks.

In a statement at the weekend, District Court Judge Anthony Halpin said his comments were “in-correct” and insisted he had “no intention” of offending any section of society.

Judge Halpin made the initial claims during a case on Thursday at Tallaght District Court about a Somali man accused of burglary at his ex-wife’s home.

During the court sitting, the judge was told Khadar Younis, 46, of Belfry Hall in Citywest, Dublin, denied breaking into his ex-wife’s home while she was asleep in bed.

Mr Younis also pleaded not guilty to breaking a protection order and being in the possession of a knife while in the house.

After defence solicitor John O Leary told the court his client had been divorced by a Muslim cleric under the Koran and that his former wife, Kara Ibrahim, wished to drop the case because Mr Younis was a good father to their four children, Judge Halpin said: “I think Muslims feel they can actually beat their wives.”

However, after mounting pressure from a number of migrant groups — which led to Labour junior minister Joe Costello saying the remark needed to be withdrawn — the judge bowed to public pressure and apologised.

“This week I made an unfortunate and incorrect remark in court. This has attracted some attention which gives the impression that I hold views less than favourable to the Muslim religion.

“I would like to state that nothing could be further from the truth. I accept that I made the remark, but what I intended to say, and should have said, was that people who beat their partners do not appreciate the provisions of safety or protection orders, and they need intervention and education in that regard.

“I had no intention of referring to, or offending Muslims or their religion, and I apologise for the hurt caused. I ask for their forgiveness,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Immigrant Council of Ireland welcomed the retraction of the controversial remarks.

“The judge’s reassurance that he had no intention of offending Muslims or their religion is particularly welcome and we accept the apology to that community is genuine.

“This episode again underlines the need for people in authority to reflect on the impact their remarks, even those made off the cuff or in the heat of the moment, can have on the wider public and feed into stereotypes which are wrong and offensive,” the spokesperson said.

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