12 February 2011
This article discusses some of the current issues Muslims in Ireland are facing. The actual diversity of Muslim communities in Ireland creates particular challenges in terms of organising Muslims and representing their interests to the public. The role of European networks of the Muslim Brotherhood in organising Islam in Ireland is addressed as well as the need of the Irish government to recognise the actual diversity of Irish Islam.
Bosnia’s first gay pride festival has been forced underground after 10 people were injured when protestors attacked visitors on the festival’s opening night. Dozens of people chanting “kill the gays” punched, kicked, and threw stones at people leaving the event. Islamic leaders were angry that the festival of pride, which includes art, films, and workshops about sexual minorities, is being held during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Lead organizers of the event said that they are not canceling the festival, but changing the format from public to private, hoping that this will deter some of the harassment and violence.
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The Irish Times
According to a poll conducted by the Irish Times and TNS, almost half of people feel that the wearing of the hijab or headscarf by Muslim students should be allowed in state schools. 48% agreed that the garment should be permitted, 39% disagreed, and 13% indicated that they had no opinion. A breakdown of the figures by age show that young people are more tolerance of the headscarf, while older people were more likely to be opposed to its wearing. In addition, 55% of women agreed to its wearing, compared to only 42% of men. The poll was conducted among a sample of 1,000 voters in face-to-face interviews, at 100 sampling points in all 43 constituencies. Batt O’Keeffe, the Minister for Education, said that the Government will consider whether or not to issue guidelines for the hijab/headscarf when it drafts an inter-cultural education strategy later in the year.