December 20, 2013
Two former soldiers who firebombed a mosque following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby have each been jailed for six years. Stuart Harness, 34, and Gavin Humphries, 37, made petrol bombs and threw them at the Grimsby Islamic Cultural Centre while being filmed on CCTV cameras they thought were turned off.
They were jailed today by Judge Mark Bury at Hull Crown Court after admitting arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered at an earlier hearing.
He jailed a third defendant, Daniel Cressey – who denied aiding and abetting the other two but was found guilty by a jury – for three years.
Judge Bury said: “Whatever your feelings of outrage were, you should have allowed justice to take its course. Instead you carried out a retaliatory act of throwing petrol bombs at the Grimsby Islamic Cultural Centre. As is usual in these cases, the victims had nothing to do with the events that so enraged you. They were entirely innocent law-abiding Muslims who were practising their religion in a peaceable way.”
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/six-years-for-former-soldiers-who-firebombed-mosque-after-lee-rigby-murder-9018507.html
Four children of Sheikh Hussein Halawa, the imam of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Dublin, Ireland’s largest mosque, were arrested on Saturday, 17 August 2013, following the overnight siege of the Al-Fath Mosque near Ramses Square in central Cairo. Three of the imam’s daughters and his teenage son took part in the march leading to Ramses Square on Friday, 16 August 2013, after participating at the pro-Mursi sit-in near the Rabaa Al-Adawiyya Mosque.
They are held in military detention at the Tora prison in Cairo and are due to appear at court on Monday, 19 August 2013. As all four hold Irish citizenship, the Irish government has been asked to intervene with the Egyptian authorities in their behalf. Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Joe Costello, could confirm that they were “in good health” and that a Turkish diplomat had visited them.
The four siblings are among a growing number of young Irish of Arab background have been caught up in the events and turmoil around the Arab Spring for the last two years, undertaking online campaigns, setting up charities or joining rebel forces to fight initially in Libya and later in Syria.
Sheikh Hussein Halawa has been living in Ireland for the last 18 years. He heads the largest mosque in Ireland and is also the secretary of the European Council for Fatwa and Research which is based at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland. Both the Islamic Cultural Centre and the European Council for Fatwa and Research are funded by the Maktoum Foundation, led by Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and Minister for Finance and Industry of the United Arab Emirates.
Several Muslim women were asked to remove their headscarves for a new type of the Irish immigration certificate, known as Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) card which is issued by the Garda (Irish police). This card includes the name, a photograph and other details of the card holder and serves as proof that the card holder is a legal resident in the Republic of Ireland.
The women approached the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI), the major Sunni mosque in Ireland, located in Dublin, which has raised the issue with the police. According to Ali Selim, spokesperson of the ICCI, “the Garda representative showed understanding and acted promptly. Soon afterwards he confirmed to us that Muslim women would not be asked to remove their hijab. We are grateful for this prompt response. This is the inclusive Ireland that we are proud to be part of.”
The press office of the police referred to problems resulting from the implementation of the new system, while emphasising the police’s commitment to engage with various communities and to ensure that their particular needs are met.
Cork city councillor and former city mayor, Joe O’Callaghan, has called for a complete ban on the full face veil in Ireland. Following similar legislation in other European countries, O’Callaghan has submitted a motion in this respect to be debated at next month’s Cork city council meeting. His rejection of the full face veil is based on two grounds: he describes the full face veil as an “affront to women” incompatible with modern society and considers them to be a security risk. Representatives of the main mosque organization, the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, rejected the proposal as discriminatory, while stating that the full face veil is not mandatory in Islam. Representatives of Irish immigration organizations characterized the motion as “childish, opportunistic and irresponsible” while doubting its seriousness.
29 April 2011
A leaked cable of the US embassy in Dublin, sent to the US State Department in July 2006, responds the Department’s request to assess the threat of Islamic extremism in Ireland and “to look at the role of Islamic thinkers across Europe”. The cable, published in WikiLeaks on April 25 2010, provides a survey of the major mosque organisations in Ireland and comes to the conclusion that only few Muslim leaders call for integration of Muslims into Irish society.
The European Council for Fatwa and Research whose secretariat is based in the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Clonskeagh, South Dublin, is depicted as “little more than a paper tiger”. The cable also notes the close connection of the Islamic Cultural Centre with the Muslim Brotherhood and Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
As one of the most pro-American voices among Muslim leaders in Ireland, the cable identifies the leader of the Iraqi Shii community, Dr Ali Al-Saleh, who tries “to provide the Irish public a balanced view of USG [US government] efforts in Iraq…”. The Dublin embassy assisted Al-Saleh in writing an opinion piece in the Irish Times, published March 18, 2006, on the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq which points in particular at the democratic benefits the US invasion has brought to Iraq.
In response to the leaked cable, the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland downplayed its links with the Muslim Brotherhood, emphasising its openness for all Muslim worshippers and its rejection of the promotion of particular political agendas. Ali Al-Saleh, the clerical leader of the Shii community, confirmed the assistance he received from the US embassy in writing the opinion piece stating: “The Shias were supportive of the role the US played in getting rid of Saddam Hussein. We were pro-US in terms of their role in promoting democracy in the region.”
Representatives of Valencia’s Islamic Cultural Centre have suggested that imams across Spain be paid a wage, in the manner of Catholic priests. Amparo Sanchez Rossell, head of the Centre, advocates awarding salary based on university qualification in training related to Islamic studies. According to Rossell, instituting a salary “would help prevent extremists becoming involved in the mosque”.
Amparo S_nchez, the President of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Valencia has asked the Spanish Government to study in a regular basis the election and economical sustainability of the Imams of the Mosques with the objective of securing that these people have at least received an Islamic Theological education. According to the first female president of a Spanish Islamic organization, the Government should also pay a salary to the imam as he is a professional.
A controversial project to build a mosque in Bologna has been scrapped, due to lack of agreement from local Muslims concerning two key conditions. The city’s Islamic Cultural Centre failed to reply to a letter laying town two essential conditions for the mosque to go ahead; the city’s councillor, Virginio Merola says this indicated a disagreement with the city council over the project. The city council’s letter asked for (1) a foundation to be set up to ensure transparency over funding for the planned mosque, and (2) that Bologna’s Muslim community distance itself from Italy’s largest Muslim group – the Union of Islamic Communities of Italy (UCOII). While plans for the mosque construction have now fallen through, Bologna’s Islamic Cultural Centre says it remains committed to building the mosque, despite opposition. A former coordinator for the mosques in the Emilia Romagna region, Hasan Giulio Soravia , criticized leaders for failing to break away from the UCOII, the largest Muslim group in Italy. The UCOII has many members that belong to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement, and as such, Muslim projects in Italy have been encouraged to sever ties with the association. However, Soravia remains hopeful, that Muslims in Italy will e able to forge their own Islam that distances itself from the logic of Arab states.