US sought information on Muslims in Ireland

 

A LEAKED cable from the US embassy in Ireland has revealed that Washington asked its diplomats to compile as dossier on Muslims in Dublin to assess the strength of extremist views.

The July 2006 “priority” cable, published by WikiLeaks yesterday, was sent by then US ambassador to Ireland James Kenny to then US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice as well as US embassies and consulates in Europe and the Middle East.

It was prepared in response to a request from Washington “to look at the role of Islamic thinkers across Europe”.

The cable said “one of the most pro-democracy and pro-USG [US government] policy Islamic voices in Ireland is that of the Shi’a Mosque leader, Irish/Iraqi/Saudi Arabian national Dr Ali Al Saleh and his . . . predominantly Iraqi congregation in the Dublin neighborhood known as ‘Milltown’ ”.

It stated: “Al Saleh and the Irish Shi’as attempt to provide the Irish public with a balanced view of USG efforts in Iraq, but unfortunately, lack the media savvy to effectively communicate the balanced picture of activities in Iraq and are overshadowed in the Islamic community by the majority Sunnis, who have historical and political connections to the GOI [government of Ireland].

“With assistance from Post [the US embassy in Dublin], however, Dr Al Saleh’s message is gradually being heard by an Irish audience, such as in a positive Op-Ed ghost-written for him in The Irish Times, the Irish newspaper of record, on the third anniversary of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq.”

The article appeared in this newspaper on Saturday, March 18th, 2006.

The cable described the European Council for Fatwa and Research, based at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Dublin’s Clonskeagh, as “little more than a paper tiger” but that it was chaired by a “leading member of Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Shaykh [sic] Yusuf al-Qaradawi”.

From within the Muslim community “only a few voices calling for integration can be heard”. The loudest were “Shaheed Satardien, Allama Zille Umar Qadri and Mian Ghulam Bari and his son Mazhar Bari”.

Both Satardien and Qadri “told emboffs [embassy officials] that getting out a positive message on integration is difficult because the conservative Muslims, or as Satardien refers to the leaders at [the cultural centre] ICCI, the Wahhabis and Muslim Brotherhood, control Islam in Ireland”, it said.

It said Dr Satardien had “a talent for seizing the microphone”, that “Irish government sources describe him as a man who likes the sound of his own voice”, and that he had organised a peace conference in 2006 at which a US embassy official spoke.

Mazhar Bari, “a [TCD] college professor and local politician for the Progressive Democrats”, was, with his father, a leader of the Pakistani community in Ireland, it said, but that “the Black Pitts [sic] mosque, which they sponsor, is suspected of being a gathering place for some radical elements within the Pakistani community”.

The cable said the mosque on Dublin’s South Circular Road had “weaker ties to MB” but was viewed as an “extremist mosque”.