History of Islam in Ireland

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There are 63,400 practising Muslims living in Ireland and approximately 50 mosques and prayer centres within the State, with five Muslim clergymen or qualified imams.

There is more than one mosque or prayer centre in each province.

According to Census 2016, the results of which were published last April, 63,400 of our 4,761,865 population declared their religion as Islam.

A total of 3.7m declared themselves as Roman Catholic and 126,400 as Church of Ireland. After these two religions, Islam was the third most popular religion in Ireland.

Last year’s Census also marked a rise of 29% in the number of people registering themselves as a Muslim. In Census 2011, 49,200 people declared themselves Muslim.

Islam is now listed by the CSO as being one of the fastest growing religions in Ireland.

This growth has occurred in a very short period of time, considering the Islamic Foundation of Ireland (IFI) was only formed in 1959.

The headquarters of the foundation is at the Dublin Mosque and Islamic Centre on Dublin’s South Circular Road. This was the first mosque in Ireland which was established in 1976.

The IFI, which looks after the religious, educational and social needs of Muslims in Ireland, was originally formed by students who had travelled here to study.

“The first trickle of Muslims arrived in Ireland in the early 1950s. Initially, they came for education, especially to study medicine at the famous Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.

“Perhaps the Muslim students from the Republic of South Africa were the first to arrive in Ireland for this purpose. Students then followed from India, Malaysia, and the Gulf states. In the 1970s a number of trainees in aircraft engineering came to Ireland from Algeria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia,” reads a document by the IFI.

It explains that when these students decided to stay on here to live and work, that is when the community was formed.

“When a number of students decided to reside in this country for work, and with the arrival of a number of Muslim businessmen and traders from the UK, the first resident Muslim community in Ireland was formed,” states the IFI document.

By the Census 1991, there were 3,873 Muslims living here, however, this is the year when the religious community began to grow.

From 1991 onwards, the number of Muslims increased considerably due to the arrival of Muslim refugees from Bosnia, Somalia, and Kosovo, as well as asylum seekers and professionals and workers from various Islamic countries.

Of the 63,400 Muslims currently living here, it is estimated they represent more than 40 different nationalities.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/islam-is-irelands-third-largest-religion-451879.html

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Imam says Ireland seen as a safe haven by Islamic extremists

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An Imam has warned that an Islamic extremist terrorist attack could happen in Ireland and a “cancer of hate” is being allowed to flourish in some Irish Muslim communities.

Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, of the Islamic centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin, said last night that he has warned repeatedly that more needs to be done to stop young Muslims being radicalised in Ireland.

He said the London Bridge atrocity and reports one of the killers had lived in Dublin were “absolutely shocking and worrying”.

“But it’s something that I have been saying for the past few years and now it’s confirmed,” he told the Irish Independent.

“I have been warning publicly that in Ireland there are individuals that are extremists and somehow they are being provided with a safe haven by certain Muslim leaders.

“By safe haven I mean that they are not being called out, they are not being identified, they are not being excluded, not being excommunicated from the community.

“In fact, they have the freedom to come to the mosques to spread their cancerous ideology to others in the Muslim community.”

Asked if a terrorist attack could happen in Ireland, he replied: “I believe that these extremists live in Ireland.

“This is a safe haven for them. So it would be very stupid of them to actually do something here because they would be raising the alarm and everything would be uptight, the security, and all that.

“But I think, at the moment, they have so much hatred that I would say that it is possible and God forbid that it happens. That would be my greatest concern.”

Dr Al-Qadri said he did not know Rachid Redouane, who spent a period living in Rathmines in south Dublin.

Meanwhile, residents in leafy Rathmines have expressed their shock and surprise after it emerged Redouane had lived in the area in recent times.

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/britain/extremists-free-to-spread-their-cancer-of-hate-in-a-safe-haven-35792597.html

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Islamic terrorist who raised funds for jihadists used up to six identities

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An Algeria-born convicted Islamic terrorist facing deportation from Ireland has used six different names since arriving here 20 years ago.

The man, linked by French authorities to al-Qa’ida, used his own name and five aliases at various points, according to a submission by lawyers for Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to the Supreme Court.

The 53-year-old claims his alleged links to al-Qa’ida were “made up” and is challenging his deportation.

He is being held at Wheatfield Prison while he awaits the court’s judgment, which is expected by the end of the month.

In a submission, the minister’s legal team outlined the man’s use of multiple names and how he supplied false information to Irish authorities.

The minister has alleged the man is involved in terrorism and his activities and associates are of serious concern and contrary to the State’s security.

But lawyers for the man say he denies being involved in terrorism and does not know what information the minister is relying upon. They argued in court yesterday he was at risk of torture from authorities if returned to Algeria, where he has life and death sentences hanging over him.

His barrister, Michael Lynn SC, also argued the minister did not have proper regard for a Refugee Appeals Tribunal finding there was a foreseeable risk of harm to the man and had not given reasons for departing from the tribunal’s finding.

Although death sentences are no longer carried out in Algeria, he said the minister had not given consideration to the use of secret detention centres there.

But Remy Farrell SC, for the minister, said she had acted within her powers.

The man was a supporter of the banned political movement Front Islamique du Salut, which sought to establish an Islamic state governed by sharia law.

He fled Algeria in or around 1994 and was convicted in his absence of murder and formation of a terrorist group.

The man ended up in Ireland in 1997 and gained refugee status in 2000. He would later turn up in France where he was jailed in 2005 for his role in a plot to commit terror offences there and in Spain, Andorra, Ireland and England.

A Paris court heard he had been fundraising for jihadists.

In a written submission, Mr Farrell and his co-counsel, Sinéad McGrath BL, outlined how the man used an alias when he illegally entered Ireland.

In a subsequent application for asylum he stated his parents and only brother had been killed. But it later transpired he actually had two brothers. Both were convicted alongside him of terror offences in France.

After being released early from a French prison he was refused asylum there and illegally re-entered Ireland in 2009.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/islamic-terrorist-who-raised-funds-for-jihadists-used-up-to-six-identities-35776975.html

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Refugees in Ireland face struggle to reunite with families after legal change

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Concern has been expressed that recent legislation has made it harder for the families of refugees and migrants to join them in Ireland.

Under the International Protection Act 2015 refugees now have to prove that they can financially support any dependants whom they apply to bring into the State. Reunifiying families is a critical part of integrating migrants and refugees into a new country, according to European Migration Network Ireland, whose research was published on Tuesday by the Economic & Social Research Institute.

Family reunification “helps to ensure the protection and wellbeing of refugees and their family members. In the current context it is clearly important that refugees are able to access safe legal avenues to Ireland,” said Samantha Arnold, one of the researchers.

Under the legal change “it may be more difficult for refugee sponsors to be joined by extended family such as grandparents or siblings of adult sponsors,” according to Ms Arnold and her fellow researcher, Emma Quinn.

“While the restrictions bring Ireland’s system closer in line to most other EU member states’, the changes have raised concerns in light of the current refugee and migration crisis.”

First residence permits issued for family-related reasons made up the smallest category of permits issued in 2015, after education and employment. In contrast, permits issued for family-related reasons formed the largest category of permits issued in the EU.

In 2015, 25,632 residence permits – 23 per cent of the total – were held in Ireland by family members from outside the European Economic Area. In the EU as a whole, family accounted for 38 per cent of total residence permits.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/refugees-in-ireland-face-struggle-to-reunite-with-families-after-legal-change-1.3101652

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Immigrant rights organisations say ruling is ‘unqualified good news’

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Immigrant Council says work ban impacts on self-esteem, mental health and on children.

A ruling by the Supreme Court that a ban on asylum seekers working is unconstitutional has been hailed as “unqualified good news” by immigrant rights organisations.

On Tuesday the seven-judge court ruled unanimously in favour of a Burmese man who appealed against the blanket ban which precluded him from working during the eight years he spent in the direct provision system. The man in question has since been granted refugee status.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission welcomed the ruling, and said the test case raised important issues pertinent to Ireland’s asylum seeker population.

“I welcome today’s ruling and strongly recommend, as stated previously in our 2014 policy statement on direct provision, that strong consideration be given to allowing direct provision residents to work, and that direct provision residents over the age of 18 receive education and training in preparation for seeking employment once they leave the system,” said chief commissioner Emily Logan.

Brian Killoran of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said Ireland was one of only two EU countries, the other being Lithuania, which has a complete prohibition on asylum seekers finding employment.

“From working with asylum seekers over the years we know the impact of the work ban goes much further than simply being denied the right to get a job,” he said, describing the ruling as “unqualified good news”.

“It affects self-esteem, mental health, their children, limits them to a life lived in poverty and affects their opportunity to integrate into Irish society,” said Mr Killoran.

The Immigrant Council has indicated that its preference is for asylum seekers to be granted the right to work at six months, which is commensurate with the timescale for deciding on asylum applications.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/courts/supreme-court/immigrant-rights-organisations-say-ruling-is-unqualified-good-news-1.3101900

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Ban on asylum seekers seeking employment unconstitutional, says Supreme Court

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A Burmese man who spent eight years in direct provision has unanimously won his Supreme Court appeal over the legal ban preventing him from working.

In a significant decision, the seven judge Supreme Court today unanimously found in favour of the man but adjourned the matter for six months to allow the legislature consider how to address the situation.

The court found that, “in principle”, the ban in the Refugee Act on asylum seekers seeking employment, is contrary to the constitutional right to seek employment.

The decision could have major implications for other asylum seekers.

Giving the court’s judgment, Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell said the man was eight years in the asylum system before getting refugee status.

While the State can legitimately have a policy of restricting employment of asylum seekers, Section 9.4 of the Refugee Act does “not just severely limit” the right to seek work for asylum seekers but “removes it altogether”, he said.

If there is no limit on the time for processing an asylum application, that could amount to an absolute prohibition on employment, no matter how long a person was within the system, he said.

He could not accept that if a right is in principle available, that it is an appropriate and permissible differentiation between citizens and non-citizens, and in particular between citizens and asylum seekers, to remove the right for all time for asylum seekers.

“The point has been reached when it cannot be said the legitimate differences between an asylum seeker and a citizen can continue to justify the exclusion of an asylum seeker from the possibility of employment,” he said.

“This damage to the individual’s’ self worth and sense of themselves, is exactly the damage which the constitutional right [to seek employment] seeks to guard against.”

The evidence from the man of the depression, frustration and lack of self-belief at being unable to work “bears this out”, he added.

He said, in principle, he would be prepared to find, in circumstances where there is no temporal limit on the asylum process, the “absolute prohibiton” on seeking of employment in Section 9.4, and re-enacted in Section 16.3.b of the International Protection Act 2015, “is contrary to the constitutional right to seek employment”.

In dismissing the man’s case last year, a majority Court of Appeal ruled the open ended nature of the ban on work did not mean Section 9.4 is unconstitutional and rejected as “too broad a proposition” non-Irish citizens enjoy the same general rights as Irish citizens.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan disagreed. He ruled the man has a personal right under Article 40.3 of the Constitution to work here and Section 9.4.unconstitutionally struck at the “very substance” of that constitutional right.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/ban-on-asylum-seekers-seeking-employment-unconstitutional-says-supreme-court-35770356.html

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Immigrant jailed for sexual exploitation of teenager with autism

A 56-year-old man has been jailed for two and a half years for sexually exploiting a 16-year-old boy with autism by performing a sex act on him in the toilet of a shopping centre in Cork.

Dahesh Patel had denied the charge of sexually exploiting the teenager in the toilet on June 21st, 2015, but the jury took less than one hour to find him guilty of the offence.

On Monday, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Seán Ó Donnabhain noted Patel, of Dillon’s Court, Dillon’s Cross, Cork, had not only denied the charge but had accused gardaí of trying “to stitch him up”.

During the trial, the victim gave evidence by video link of how he was standing at a urinal in the toilet when Patel, who was at another urinal, approached him.

“I was under the impression I needed a pee. The man just stared at me and nothing was happening. He said, ‘we can make it happen’ and he grabbed my private and he claimed he was trying to help.

“That really confused me – what is he doing, and then he said, ‘do you want some more’ and I said, ‘no thanks’ and he left,” said the boy, who denied under cross-examination that he was lying.

Patel’s counsel, Mary Rose Gearty, said her client had been seen by a clinical psychiatrist, Dr Seán Ó Domhnaill, and, working with him, he had come to accept that he molested the boy.

She also pointed out Patel also had alcohol addiction and he was on his way to buy vodka in the shopping centre on the day when he encountered the boy in the toilet and molested him.

She said Patel had handed over €10,000, without prejudice, to the boy’s solicitor to help pay for counselling sessions to help him deal with the consequences of the molestation.

Judge Ó Donnabhain said it was a very serious offence and it was only since working with Dr Ó Domhnaill that Patel accepted what he had done and expressed any remorse for his actions.

“This was an opportunistic offence where the accused took advantage of a vulnerable young man – I believe Patel was aware of the boy’s development difficulties at an early stage of their interaction.”

What Patel had done could only be described as “depraved”, he said as he sentenced him to five years in jail with half suspended on condition he get treatment for his alcoholism upon release.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/man-jailed-for-sexual-exploitation-of-teenager-with-autism-1.3100671

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