This is a brief glimpse into the Islamist threat in Ireland. For years now, Wahhabi-Salafi fanatics have been exploiting Irish goodwill to establish a support network in the country. In this piece, we will provide a steady flow of information corroborating the experiences of Alliance members in this respect. This is important, for we simply cannot go on thinking that Ireland is immune to Islamic terror. The imperial nature of the mainstream faith means that, ultimately, nowhere is completely safe. In the words of Sheikh Umar al-Qadri:
Those Muslims who say “we do not need to condemn terror” do not know their religion.
As ISIS militants rapidly approach defeat in Iraq and Syria, they have stepped up their calls for Western Muslims to carry out acts of mass murder. In accordance with this, Wahhabi-Salafi fanatics in Ireland are becoming ever more strident, knowing full well that the State won’t do anything to stop them. Jim Cusack provides us with an example of this behaviour in the Sunday Independent:
In the week after the Paris attacks last November, I was called a ‘kuffar’ by a group of Muslim men at a food shop in Dublin. One of the group of five – it was late and the shop was nearly empty – also decided to make what he thought was a joke about the attacks in Paris which left 130 dead, most of them young people. He said, in a raised voice: “Yes, it was a tragedy…a tragedy they (the attackers) ran out of bullets.” I was momentarily stunned and moved away. I reported the matter unofficially to Gardaí, though it didn’t seem quite to register as an incitement crime… The term ‘kuffar’ should be understood better by Westerners. It is taken to mean, in the teachings of Wahhabi Sunni preachers, that all non-Muslims must be converted or killed, preferably by having their throats cut.
Thus we see that jihadist sympathisers can indulge in hate crime without any recrimination from the State. This is symptomatic of the self-doubt which plagues Western society in general – specifically, the fear of being unable to criticise Islam or Muslim behaviour without having racist motives, or at least to be seen as such. In reality, there is nothing racist about condemning violent ideologies and holding their espousers to account: indeed, for those who have suffered under the faith, the charge of racism is especially absurd.
If we don’t break this psychological stranglehold soon, then Ireland is set to become the latest victim of Islamic terror: for the extent to which we ignore the problem is that to which we foster its growth and development. It is not enough to step up Garda surveillance: rather, we need to ignite a sense of pride in the Enlightenment values which make our way of life possible, that ordinary Irish people may be vigilant enough to keep religious barbarism at bay. To quote the philosopher A.C. Grayling in this regard:
Some of the most militant religious fundamentalists, knowing that they cannot realistically hope to overthrow liberal and democratic societies, nevertheless desire to punish them, and do so by acts of mass murder, the worst to date being 9/11 in the United States, the London Underground bombings, the Madrid train bombings, and the attacks in Mumbai. This, obviously, is unacceptable, but so too is the background atmosphere of more general reaction which it both promotes and feeds upon. It is not enough to combat terrorism, therefore. It is also necessary to defend the liberal dispensation that fundamentalism, reaction, and their militant expressions, by their nature oppose.
That most Irish people support free speech, secularism and marriage equality is enough for Wahhabi-Salafi fanatics to commit atrocities: for the latter already believe that non-Muslims, by not accepting Islam as the one true faith, exist in a state of rebellion to God’s will. There is no need to invoke grievances over U.S. warplanes refuelling at Shannon Airport, which, in any case, have nothing to do with innocent Muslims being killed, but rather the defeat of their apocalyptic death cult and its enablers, e.g. Saddam Hussein. Indeed, if these people really cared about the welfare of Muslims in Iraq and Syria, then they would be taking up arms against ISIS, who have been purging moderate Sunnis and Shi’a Muslims for years. Their concerns are sectarian in nature, not humanitarian.
What follows here is a steady flow of information shining a light on the Islamist threat in Ireland. This is absolutely necessary, for how many people know that, other than in Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood has its strongest support base in Ireland, with the Clonskeagh Mosque acting as a base of operations? Irish people ought to reflect on this before lending their support to Ibrahim Halawa, whose father is the chief representative of the Brotherhood here. Hussein Halawa answers directly to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, known for his defence of suicide bombings as a legitimate means of warfare, as well as praising Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust as blessings from God. This is but one of many interesting tidbits to be found in the leaked U.S. cables on Islam in Ireland, dating from 2006. Here are four more, quoting directly from the documents:
Only in recent years has Ireland witnessed a significant growth in the numbers of Muslim immigrants. For that reason, discussions on pluralism are just beginning to take place. The GOI [Government of Ireland] has established programs such as the hiring of non-Irish police officers and creating the National Consultative Committee for Racism and Integration to help assimilate immigrants. From within the Muslim community, however, only a few voices calling for integration can be heard. The loudest of these voices are Shaheed Satardien, Umar al-Qadri and Mian Ghulam Bari. Both Satardien and Qadri have told emboffs that getting out a positive message on integration is difficult because the conservative Muslims, or as Satardien refers to the leaders at ICCI, the Wahhabis and Muslim Brotherhood, control Islam in Ireland.
On March 2, Anjem Choudary, radical British leader of Al-Muhajiroun, and Ali Selim, an Egyptian/Irish national and ICCI employee, participated in a public debate on Islam, where Choudary promoted the Muslim right to self-defense for all Western infractions against Islam since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. He argued, with Selim’s tacit complicity, that victims of 9/11, Madrid, and 7/7 are collateral damage and justifiable losses in an ongoing struggle to regain a global Islamic state.
Some diplomatic community Muslims are instructed by their missions not to attend services at ICCI and other moderates have left the mosque’s community due to alleged radical influences at the center. For example, despite Halawa’s public call after the 7/7 London attacks to arrest extremists, the ICCI employed as a religious teacher Abdul-Rahman Katrani, a Moroccan national wanted by the GOM for the 2003 Casablanca bombings. Also, terrorism financier and U.S. Executive Order 13224 designee Ibrahim Buisir is known to frequent the center.
The individuals associated with ICCI and other conservative Sunni Mosques, Halawa, Selim, Hussein, and others, appear to maintain their key professional international relationships through the ECFR, or Muslim Brotherhood contacts. Halawa, in particular, as head of the largest Mosque in Ireland is in a unique position as the main official Muslim contact of the GOI… It is doubtful that he, Selim, or others suspected of MB involvement operate independently of some informal conservative Islamic or MB hierarchy… When pressed on Yusuf al-Qaradawi, they demonstrated loyalty to him by claiming that he is a model of moderate Islam and said that disparaging remarks about him were taken out of context.
We begin with the disturbing revelation that at least 150 Muslim extremists are living in Ireland. These are the words of Aaliya (26), an Irish Muslim convert who recently spoke of her experience as the bride of a jihadist. She wore a heavy disguise when speaking to the media at the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre in Blanchardstown, and fears that her life may be in danger for doing so.
Aaliya reveals that she was radicalised in the UK, and that she met the two London jihadis, Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane, on at least twenty occasions in both the UK and Ireland. She claims that no less than 150 radicals are residing in Ireland, who can easily travel between the two countries via the North because they don’t have to show any papers. Such radicals “laugh” at Ireland, Aaliya says, because they see us as “backward and behind the times” in assessing the threat of radical Islam.
The imam of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre, Dr. Muhammad Umar al-Qadri, has called on the Irish government to urgently act in stamping out radical Islam, and says that he has warned them of the threat for years now, but has been ignored. He calls for legislation for an independent, self-governing body to govern Islamic teaching in Ireland, with an approved curriculum so that Irish Muslims do not become a target for jihadis seeking to groom them.
In direct contrast to this is Hussein Halawa, the imam of the Clonskeagh Mosque, who openly associates with Wahhabi-Salafi fanatics online. Indeed, Halawa is listed as a Facebook friend of Abu Yusuf al-Irlandi, an Irish Muslim convert who spouts extremist anti-Western views. Al-Irlandi urges jihad against supporters of democracy, which he labels “shirk” – the sin of worshipping anything other than Allah. One of his most recent tirades reads as follows:
Beware of the callers to the Hellfire who try to involve you in democracy oh Muslims! Democracy is Shirk, stay far from it and its people and have enmity to them as Allah commanded. In the West including Ireland the majority of the ‘representatives of Islam’ mislead millions. May Allah make us from those who stand against this as it is a form of Jihad. So every brother and sister who has the ability must stand up and speak against these false callers lest we are questioned about it on the day of judgement.
The aforementioned Dr. al-Qadri, who is also chair of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council, has slammed the Facebook posts. Speaking to the media, Dr. al-Qadri rebuked Halawa for giving credence to the likes of al-Irlandi:
Any individuals that are known to propagate hate narratives must be called out. Abu Yusuf al-Irlandi openly preaches that democracy is Kafir, which means it is a Muslim duty to fight against it. Interfaith dialogue is also forbidden. I am shocked to see the imam of the largest mosque in Dublin, Hussein Halawa, in his Friends list. Muslim scholars like Sheikh Halawa have a very big responsibility. Such individuals as Al-Irlandi, why are we giving them safe space?
Some of these posts have been liked by Irish converts. And these are new Muslims. They are being radicalised. I am so, so worried now. I have been saying for the last two years that there are extremists. Now it’s proven that one of the London bombers lived in Rathmines, Dublin. I would like all Muslim leaders to call out such individuals. Enough is enough. Our religion is a religion of compassion, of mercy. By not speaking out against these individuals, he [Halawa] is allowing them to hijack our religion.
Yes, for organised Islam in Ireland, granting legitimacy to jihadist preachers is par for the course. In early March 2016, the Dublin Mosque planned to have Dr. Othman al-Khamees speak at their two-day Muslim Conference, organised by the Kuwaiti student group ‘Thabat’. The conference was cancelled when Dr. Ali al-Saleh, the imam of the Shi’a mosque in Milltown, alerted the Gardaí that both al-Khamees and fellow Kuwaiti scholar Dr. Khaled al-Otaibi were jihadist preachers, with the former having previously been banned from travelling to Holland.
Indeed, Dr. al-Saleh has become notorious for calling out both the Islamic Cultural Centre (Clonskeagh Mosque) and the Islamic Foundation of Ireland (Dublin Mosque). As far back as 2014, the Shi’a imam suggested that ISIS terrorists are already here:
Members of ISIS live here, they are active at the level of small circles, giving lectures, talking to the youth. This is a problem. We’ve said that from the beginning, now we have it. We didn’t tackle it from the beginning. It is our duty as Imams to talk openly against those things.
In August 2015, Ibrahim Ahmad Noonan, the leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, spoke in a similar vein. He told a conference that Islamic extremism was a problem in Ireland, one which had started more than a decade ago:
I know imams here who will talk about peace, but they do hold very extremist views and will not share them with the media. These imams have to choose the path of peace in totality or walk off with their twisted version of Islam.
Disturbingly, this message of goodwill does not seem to have resonated with the Sunni Muslim community. When three Irish citizens were killed in a terror attack on a Tunisian beach in June 2014, Dr. al-Qadri invited Irish Muslims to march against the barbarity of ISIS. He organised the march under the banner ‘Not in My Name’, which took place on O’Connell Street on July 26th. Of the estimated 60,000 Muslims living in Ireland, only 50 showed up for the march. Neither the Clonskeagh Mosque nor the Dublin Mosque took part. To understand why, we need only quote from an article at the time:
At the march in July, Dr. al-Qadri said that one of his peace council members was physically assaulted by another Muslim while distributing flyers at a mosque for the march. Some three individuals said: “We are ISIS, are you going to protest against us?”, he said.
To put a face to this kind of mindset, let us bring up the case of Ibrahim Buisir, whose small network of extremists is subject to constant surveillance by Counter Terrorism International (CTI). Claiming to be a businessman, though currently unemployed and subsisting on welfare, Buisir has had a long association with terror groups, including Al-Qaeda. He is currently a resident of Hillview, Ballinteer, and uses financial aid from Libyan contacts to send his children to Rockbrook College, a private school.
In November 2015, it was reported that while members of Buisir’s network do not pose a threat to security here, they are believed to be providing logistical support to radicalised young Irish Muslims intent on travelling to Syria to fight for ISIS. Buisir is suspected of procuring false documents and passports, as well as providing small sums of cash to pay for travel and subsistence.
The radicalisation of young Irish Muslims, endorsed and actively supported by Buisir, involves prospective recruits for selection as Islamist fighters being sent on “training camps” in the remote areas in the Leinster region. Those taking part – young men aged between their late teens and early twenties – are “assessed” for their “mental and physical strength” to be jihadis. To quote from an article in January 2015, citing a foreign security source:
The young men were made endure the hardships of living rough in mountainous terrain, including swimming in frozen lakes and camping under the elements. No weapons or military tactics were used and no laws were broken. Those selected are taken aside for more rigorous indoctrination and sent abroad to join IS in Syria.
Alliance of Former Muslims (Ireland) can confirm the severity of these “crack camps”, which are designed to separate the weak from the strong. Having thus been primed, these youths are then sent to commit atrocities in Iraq and Syria. Indeed, a report published by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) found that as many as 26 people from Ireland are known to have taken part in the conflict. This report was published four years ago, making it quite likely that this number has now exceeded 50. The lead researcher in the project, Professor Peter Neumann of King’s College London, said:
What we found is that per capita, Ireland is probably the biggest (contributor of fighters) of all the countries we looked at because Ireland has a small population.
According to Professor Neumann, many of the fighters from Ireland are of Libyan descent. Their travel to Iraq and Syria is facilitated by a group known as Liwa al-Ummah, who appear to be connected with Jabhat al-Nusrah. To quote Neumann once more:
You have to look at these people very closely and see what kind of ideology and agenda they have. In the case of Ireland, it seems like a lot of the people, possibly all of the people who have gone to Syria, are part of a Libyan group which is called Liwa al-Ummah. They are of Libyan descent, they participated in the overthrown of Gaddafi and they returned to Ireland.
Thus far, we have touched upon the creeping extremism of the Clonskeagh Mosque and the Dublin Mosque, as well as the fringe elements they enable. We would be remiss, however, not to mention the Blackpitts Mosque, described in a leaked US government cable as a “suspected gathering place for some radical elements within the Pakistani community”.
Ten years ago, the imam of the Blackpitts Mosque, Ismail Kotwal, was the subject of a Prime Time documentary. In the programme, it was reported that during a religion class at De La Salle College Churchtown, he praised Osama bin Laden as “a great leader”, causing two Shi’a students to walk out in anger. At the time, he accused RTÉ of having “evil intentions” and twisting his words. During the programme, he said Bin Laden’s appearance was “like the Prophet Muhammad – you can see he is a good god-fearing man”.
Kotwal’s mosque has one of the biggest congregations in the country, with just under a thousand Muslims gathering there each week for Friday prayers. In May 2011, as the world absorbed the dramatic news of Osama bin Laden’s death, the imam said he was not convinced that bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11:
You will not hear me celebrating his death, because I don’t know if he was guilty. I’m not willing to judge him.
Kotwal’s response elicited outrage from the Shi’a and Ahmadiyya communities, with the Clonskeagh Mosque and the Dublin Mosque remaining conspicuously silent. Dr. Ali al-Saleh, the aforementioned imam of the Shi’a Mosque in Milltown, condemned the remark, and stated that the death of bin Laden should cause jubilation among Muslims:
From the very day he was eliminated, we should be celebrating. That man did more harm to our religion than anyone else. He hijacked the name of Islam for more than two decades and used it as a banner for all of his atrocities and crimes. Every time I have to take my shoes off at the airport, I curse bin Laden. He brought nothing but shame and embarrassment to every Muslim.
Dr. al-Saleh believes particular attention must now be paid to Irish colleges and universities, where the Muslim population is growing:
I’m very concerned that some Muslim organisations in colleges are dominated by radical thinkers who are brainwashing the minds of students. Where you see them holding lectures on Palestine, Gaza, Libya, you have to ask what their motivation is. Where we see the niqab and the burqa, that is another symbol of extremism and the repression of women. We want our students to concentrate on their studies and learn from the West about how to bring democracy to their countries, not to come here and become radicalised.
Kotwal is not alone in denying the crimes of Muslim extremists, of course. Ali Selim, spokesman for the Clonskeagh Mosque, has stated that he does not believe the 2005 London bombings were carried out by Muslims. To say it again: Ali Selim, the public representative of “moderate” Islam in Ireland, does not believe that Muslims were behind the 7/7 attacks. To quote from an interview with Hot Press:
Events that happened in England – I personally haven’t seen compelling proof that that was done by Muslims.
Selim also expresses doubts about the events of September 11th. He claims to be against violence, but declines to judge Osama bin Laden as a terrorist, saying he would have to have met him. He refuses to condemn the man:
Well, I don’t know him. Consequently, I can’t say I respect or do not respect him.
Sticking with Selim, in October 2007, he facilitated the visit of one of bin Laden’s spiritual mentors, Saudi cleric Sheikh al-Awda, who addressed a weekend conference at the Clonskeagh Mosque. Al-Awda was one of twenty-six Saudi clerics to declare that it was a religious duty to fight US troops in Iraq, and has written articles for Saudi newspapers describing Shi’a Muslims as “non-Muslims”. Dr. al-Saleh expressed concern about the visit, saying:
It is very worrying to see him visit Ireland. Muslims in Ireland, both Sunni and Shi’a, live in harmony. They should not invite people who incite hatred against the Shi’a to come here.
Ali Selim defended the invitation, saying he was “unaware” of the article to which Dr. al-Saleh had referred. This dubious conduct extends to the Islamic Society of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), whose committee members were reluctant to speak about the death of bin Laden when contacted by the Weekend Review. Abdul-Malik Dredar, a Californian who has chaired the Irish section of FOSIS, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, a British-based organisation, said the matter was not one of concern for their society. But another committee member, Faiz Moideen, was more forthcoming, though he stressed his opinions were purely his own:
I think his death is not true. I think it is a conspiracy by the United States. It’s very hard to believe. I don’t think Osama bin Laden exists at all. He was created by the US. I think the US government blew up the Twin Towers. After it was bombed they attacked Afghanistan and then moved on to Iraq. Behind that they tried to get the oil and have influence in the Middle East.
In recent years, events held by the Islamic Society in the RCSI have raised eyebrows among fellow students on campus, including one on the rules of menstruation, which was held in a college lecture hall and conducted by a male cleric. It tackled such issues as whether Muslim women should handle the Qur’an during their monthly cycles and how they should behave if they have a sudden bleed during their pilgrimage to Hajj. Alliance of Former Muslims (Ireland) recognises the sinister agenda behind all of this, and pledges to expose it for ordinary, decent non-Muslims to see.
Ignorance personified: the hideous figure of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, parallel with his apprentice Ali Selim. While we are here, it is worth quoting the words of Dr. Ahmad al-Rub’i, a columnist in the pan-Arab daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat, on the murderous hypocrisy of Sheikh al-Qaradawi:
Qaradawi is like many of the radical sheikhs who generally do not die for a cause and don’t opt for martyrdom. Neither do their sons, who generally study at the best universities in the West. His fatwas are read by impassioned Muslim youth, who then go to Iraq to perform the religious duty that Qaradawi preaches… As long as there is no difference between an American who goes to Iraq to provide people with medical aid and a combatant soldier, exactly what is to stop an inflamed youngster, who looks up to Qaradawi and believes him, from killing a doctor or a civilian employee of the relief agencies in Iraq?
The difference between madness and reason, between extremism and moderation, is clear. Qaradawi, who lives a life of comfort and luxury in Doha, publishes a fatwa to kill U.S. civilians, while the four Shi’a Imams who convened at Ayatollah al-Sistani’s home in Najaf and who live under occupation, call to refrain from violence against the U.S. forces. That is the difference between responsible thinking and irresponsible thinking; between calling to protect peoples’ lives and calling for their murder, all the while lecturing about moderation.