Controversial Ali Selim book launched in Dublin

Islam and Education in Ireland praised as ‘a brave step in a longer process of dialogue’

Muslim scholar Dr Ali Selim was congratulated this evening for stimulating debate on inclusivity in education in Ireland.

"We owe Dr Ali a great debt of gratitude for coming forward and stimulating [this] debate in the public square," said Dr Andrew McGrady. It was, he said, "a brave step in a longer process of dialogue".

Dr McGrady, director of Dublin's Mater Dei Institute, was launching Dr Selim's book Islam and Education in Ireland at Trinity College's Long Hub Room.

Reports of the book’s content last week, in which Dr Selim called for “a revolution of inclusivity” in Irish schools and “an upheaval in Irish educational perspectives” provoked a divided response, including among Muslims in Ireland. Dr Selim thanked Dr McGrady for being “so courageous” as to launch the book.


He was happy with the criticism that had followed reports of the book’s content, “whether pro or con.”

For him “today’s minority children are tomorrow’s full citizens of society” and “the one way forward was equality in education”.

He described as “the irresistible question, how to make our education more inclusive”. For his part he felt that a school’s “admissions policy is a practice of discrimination.”

Religion in education was “a battle for everyone in Ireland”, he said, but it would “need the wisdom of Solomon to sort it out.”

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times