Ali Selim urges media not to republish Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Lecturer says he may stand in election and would be interested in talking to Lucinda Creighton

A Muslim scholar has appealed to the Irish media not to republish cartoons published by the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Dr Ali Selim of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Dublin has condemned the killing of 12 people in an attack on the offices of the Paris-based publication.

However, he said it was “unfair” to link the motives of the three gunmen to Islam at this early stage of the investigation and that he would take legal advice if Irish publications did republish or tweet cartoons that made fun of Islam.

Dr Selim, a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin and the Mater Dei Institute, also confirmed that he is considering standing in the next general election here as an independent candidate.


He said he would be "interested in talking" to former Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton about the new political party she is forming. Dr Selim had run as an independent councillor in local elections in south Dublin a decade ago but had withdrawn before the vote.

“My intention back then was to encourage others to get involved in politics, and to show it could be done,”he said.

Dr Selim is author of the recently-published book Islam and Education in Ireland which advocates a "a revolution of inclusivity" in Irish schools.

His call for an “an upheaval in Irish educational perspectives” has provoked a divided response, including among representatives of the 65,000-strong Muslim community in Ireland. Dr Selim said that educational issues would be his priority if he did stand as a candidate for the Dáil. “Society could only improve if pupils were taught about different religions”, and were given an option to study different texts, he said.

“I am not saying there should be religious instruction, but there should be religious education which accommodates all faiths.” He said he favoured the VEC model of education, but felt there should be a facility for all the main Abrahamic faiths to be involved in offering advice on the curriculum and that it should be a compulsory subject to Leaving Certificate level.

Dr Selim will deliver an inter-faith public lecture on the history of Islam in Ireland at the Pillo Hotel, Galway on Thursday evening.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times