Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri said: “To win the war against radicalism we need to give the Muslim community more assurances that they are part of the society and give them the space to integrate and be part of the gardaí, part of the media, part of public life.”
He said some Muslims have been recruited into the Garda Reserve and this could be built on. “It is very essential there are gardaí from Muslim background, who can speak Arabic,” said the West Dublin imam.
Several security sources told the Irish Examiner there were no gardaí within its intelligence units who can speak or read Arabic. The sources said the force had to use an outside body or Interpol if it needs these services.
Shaykh Al-Qadri said if this was the case it was a “big problem” as terrorists can use Arabic in their communications online, on the phone, or in person.
A Garda spokesman said it had “linguistic capabilities to meet our needs”.
Security sources also said that the intelligence units do not have a dedicated section to monitor social media for security issues. One source said the Security and Intelligence Section at Garda HQ was in contact with the PSNI, which has a dedicated ‘open source information’ unit, regarding its social media software.
The Garda spokesman said a national office for open source information had been set up within the Dublin regional office and that it was liaising with “outside agencies and academic institutions” to enhance its capabilities.