Imam Ibrahim Noonan said there are some Imams here who are “telling young men to fight the West ideologically” and that these young people are further radicalised online.
Imam Noonan told the Irish Examiner that he has met, and debated with, some young Muslim men born or brought up in Ireland who have a “tendency towards an ISIS mentality”.
Speaking ahead of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association annual convention tomorrow, the cleric said many Muslims walking the street in Ireland “keep their head down” because of angry looks and that he himself has been verbally confronted on the streets.
He said that while he is “absolutely distraught” by recent terror attacks by supporters of the so-called Islamic State, he is “frustrated” by the media linking “Islam” and “Muslim” with such outrages in their headlines and reports.
The conference at Citywest, Dublin, is the 15th annual convention of the community.
Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton, and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, are due to speak at it, though an assistant commissioner may attend in her place.
The Ahmadiyya community in Ireland is relatively small — around 500 members — and is not considered by mainstream Islam as part of the Muslim community.
While Ahmadiyyas treat Prophet Mohammed as the supreme authority, like the rest of the Muslim population, they also venerate another “prophet of the people” Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who they regard as subordinate to Mohammed.
“There was a German police raid on a mosque [on Wednesday] and I’m happy they did,” said Imam Noonan, whose mosque is located in Galway, though he also preaches in Dublin.
“I’ve been saying this for years. If you are going to close your doors and not open to law enforcement and you are hiding radicals, one day you will get people knocking down your doors.”
He said the Government needs to “regulate mosques” and conduct “random checks and observe what is going on”.
He said: “I do think law enforcement needs to regulate mosques. If mosques have nothing to hide there should be no problems. Intelligence officers should be able to come in.”
He said his local chief superintendent in Galway had asked him if he minded if an officer visited.
“I said ‘No’ and you don’t need to tell me when,” he said.
Imam Noonan thinks the gardaí are “doing their best” in terms of the way they operate.
“Their aim is purely peaceful means, but I do think they need to tighten up and need to warn mosques and Imams that they will not tolerate any extremist being harboured or any preachers coming here from abroad to say how bad the West is and that sharia law should be established. That is going on.”