Mosques will need security measures amid rising hate - imam

If attack on Dr Umar al-Qadri was targeted at him as a faith leader, ‘that changes everything’, he says

Dr Umar al-Qadri, the chief imam of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, has warned that mosques and other Muslim sites will have to put security measures in place “to prevent anything negative” happening as they are “not immune to hatred”.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s News at One in the wake of an assault he suffered in Tallaght last week, Dr al-Qadri said the attack on him had been deliberate and planned in advance. The incident had not been a robbery and was now being investigated as an assault, he said.

Following the attack, Dr al-Qadri said he had been contacted by many people who were concerned about the attack on a faith leader.

“They are very worried. And I have told them let’s wait for the Garda investigation. We need to find out who they are, the culprits, and we need to find out their motives. Because if this is an attack just on me personally, then it’s a different thing.


“But if this is an attack on me because I am a Muslim, because I am a faith leader, I am a prominent Irish Muslim leader, that changes everything, that changes everything for the whole community.”

Dr al-Qadri said he had been in Ireland 21 years and had spoken out against extremism and against terrorism, but now he had been attacked.

“I have spoken the last number of months against racism. I have spoken against this prevalence of anti-Muslim sentiments, anti-migrant sentiments in the country. And now suddenly I am attacked.”

The attack on him had not been random, it had been planned. “All the faith leaders, all the imams in Ireland today will have to review security and the precautions they have in place,” he said. They will have to take precautions not to travel alone, to know the people they are meeting. Security also needs to be increased at mosques and places of worship.

“Ireland is amazing. It’s unique. But that does not mean that in Ireland we are immune to hate. It doesn’t mean we are immune. It just means that hatred hasn’t really infiltrated us yet.

“I think that the message is that we just need to make sure that we have all these security measures in place to prevent anything wrong, anything negative to happen. And that’s something that my community is focused on.”

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Vivienne Clarke

Vivienne Clarke is a reporter