A statement issued by seven imams condemned the bombings in Brussels, which they said came in a week which saw terror attacks in the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Ankara.
“These attacks once again reiterate that the perpetrators are indiscriminate in their actions and seek only to perpetuate fear and anxiety within communities,” they said.
“It is important to keep in mind that the protection and sanctity of life for all people are seen as equal in the eyes of God.
“The lives lost in Turkey and Belgium and anywhere else in the world bled the same way and the families of victims grieved the same way.”
The statement was issued by Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, imam of the Islamic Centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin; Shaykh Dr Ali Al-Saleh, imam of the Shia Milltown Islamic Centre, Dublin; imam Ihab Ahmed of the Cork Mosque Foundation; Shaykh Khalid of Ballycoolin Mosque; imam Hafiz Khalid of Laois Muslim Community; imam Hafiz Siddiq of Athlone Islamic Centre; and imam Javed Iqbal of Drogheda Muslim Community.
It said an “unfortunate, but inevitable outcome” of terror attacks was a rise in “anti-Muslim sentiment and Islamophobia”.
“The likes of Daesh [Arabic name for IS] that commit such atrocities do so with a false allegiance to Islam and its core tenets. It shouldn’t be that the actions of a misguided few tarnishes a whole community that continues to distance itself from such crime.”
The Islamic Foundation of Ireland, one of the two biggest mosques in Dublin, issued its own statement condemning “in the strongest terms the heinous attacks” on the people of Brussels.
“We believe that these indiscriminate and inhumane attacks are against all religious and moral values and are crimes against humanity that cannot be justified under any circumstances.
“Any such acts should be denounced wherever they occur.”
The statement continued: “We disassociate our faith and our fellow Muslims from such violent and brutal acts and those who perpetrate them. We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims.”
Dr Ali Selim of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Clonskeagh, the other major mosque in Dublin, said: “What happened in Brussels is an atrocity and is condemned, what is happening in Syria on a daily basis is also an atrocity, but is not condemned.
“For us all blood is blood, for us all lives are equal lives.”
He told RTÉ radio there had been three explosions in Turkey: “No one condemned them [in the West], no one talked about them, so it gives Muslims a sense of a double standard, a high level of hypocrisy.”
Dr Selim said it was not a “lack of concern” on the ICCL’s part that it did not take part in an anti-IS demonstration organised by Shaykh Al-Qadri and others last July after the Tunisia massacre in which 38 people were killed, including three Irish citizens.
Imam Ibrahim Noonan of the Ahmadiyya mosque in Galway called on all imams in Ireland to “condemn these attacks and tell these radicals ‘we do not support you’ and those who hold such views ‘stay away from our mosques and keep away from our country’.”