Prominent Muslim criticises other leaders for being softer on extremism

`I can’t say this, I can’t say that because....they feed me and they give me my sustenance’

Imam Ibrahim Noonen and Imam Naseem Ahmad at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Ireland’s 14th Jalsa Salana Annual Convention. Photograph: Sara Freund/ The Irish Times

Imam Ibrahim Noonen and Imam Naseem Ahmad at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Ireland’s 14th Jalsa Salana Annual Convention. Photograph: Sara Freund/ The Irish Times

 

A leading Muslim voice has criticised other Muslim leaders here for being softer on extremism and radicalisation.

Imam Ibrahim Noonan, Ahmadiyya National Imam for Ireland, told a conference at City West in Dublin on Sunday that “a very severe and sensitive atmosphere” was developing between Muslim communities and population in countries affected by IS violence”.

Government, law enforcement agencies, the media “need to know the difference between what is Islam and what is not Islam,” he said.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Imam Noonan expressed frustration that the Irish Council of Imams, which represented all of Ireland’s Muslims in dialogue with the State, is defunct. It was due to “internal differences” he said. Some imams believed the council should have no association with “radicals and extremists” and that if this existed “we have to report it”.

He said imams in Ireland had said to him “you know I can’t say this, I can’t say that because I’m basically’ . . . as one of them said to me . . . ‘they feed me and they give me my sustenance’. I think that’s what’s happening.”

He and such imams “talk nicely to each other. We’ll have a good chat but they won’t hold the same view in front of others.”

More generally imams had visited Ireland from Pakistan, Bradford and Birmingham. In Birmingham “they come from one of the most radical mosques. They spread a very fanatical extremist view. They’ve been here.”

They had “private meetings, private discussions and we know that in these meetings they’ll say one thing in public. In private they’re using words like jihad and these sort of things. We know.”

Instead of which imams in Ireland “should come together on one platform and that is to reassure the Irish people that Islam is peaceful and we the imams in Ireland will guarantee you that no radicalism, no extremism will come here. But that is not happening,” he said.