The Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork condemned a city centre attack on a Muslim leader who has helped foster inter-faith links.
Rt Rev Dr Paul Colton said he was horrified to hear of the attack on his friend, Sheikh Ihab Ahmed, imam of Cork’s Blarney St Mosque:.
“I condemn, unreservedly, this attack, as I denounce also any similar aggression — physical, verbal or of any kind — which targets people because they appear to some to be different: In this instance, arising from race and religion. Racism and Islamophobia have no place in our society,” he said.
Mr Ahmed, 41, religious leader of the Cork Mosque Foundation, believes he was targeted by a member of an anti-Islamic group who pushed him to the ground and stole his hat as he walked with his wife on Cathedral St at around 11pm on Wednesday.
“I was in full Islamic attire, dressed from shoulder to feet in dark grey and my hat was dark green. I tried to call after him to come back but he had already run away. I always wear my Islamic attire in the city and am hearing positive comments. This is the first time. It’s very strange. I am very sorry about what happened. I’m here 10 years and I didn’t feel any harm.”
He also said it is the third attack on a Muslim in the city in the last year that he is aware of.
Chair of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council, Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri, called on Cork City Council to hold a public hearing on Islamophobia and hate crimes in the city.