The Irish state has "unintentionally" facilitated the growth of "fascism" in the country, one of Ireland's most senior Islamic clerics has claimed. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)


Irish State has ‘unintentionally’ boosted ‘fascism’, senior Islamic cleric says


The Irish State has “unintentionally” facilitated the growth of “fascism” in the country, one of Ireland’s most senior Islamic clerics has claimed.

Dr Umar Al-Qadri, the chairman of the Irish Muslim Council NGO, said the Government had helped to fuel the extreme Right with recent policy decisions in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

“It is crucial for Irish citizens and politicians to acknowledge and address the significant threat of fascism in our country,” he wrote on social media.

“Due to the impact of post-COVID lockdowns and lack of engagement with communities, we have unintentionally facilitated its expansion and organisation.”

Al-Qadri highlighted a recent spate of arson attacks on buildings linked to migrant accommodation in recent months.

“A growing number of individuals are being radicalised by this extremist ideology, which is evident through recent instances of arson targeting vacant buildings aimed to house homeless and refugees,” he said.

The Imam also pointed to what he alleged was increasing amount of “hate speech” online as further “evidence” that Ireland’s radical Right is expanding.

“No society is immune to the dangers of radicalisation and hate,” he added.

“Hence, it is our collective responsibility as the majority to unite and unequivocally reject the presence of fascism in Ireland.”

The Muslim cleric’s statement comes at a time of increased political friction in Ireland.

At the core of the divide is the issue of immigration, with debates on the topic becoming a prime election talking point within the past 12 months.

Despite a surge of anti-immigration sentiment, the Irish political class has largely maintained its stalwart support for open borders.

Recent rioting in Dublin was largely blamed on the growth of a right-wing ideology that has gone unrepresented in the country’s Parliament.

Amid the growing tension, Al-Qadri has emerged as a figure of growing importance on the centre-right, with the cleric taking a more hard-line view on immigration than many of the country’s elected politicians.

“As migrant living in Ireland for the past two decades, I advocate for sustainable immigration, while upholding the timeless values of inclusion, compassion, respect, joy, and faith that define the essence of Irish heritage,” he wrote on social media in December.

He added that “fake asylum applications” must be dealt with and that any immigration into Ireland must “respect the indigenous society” and not “interfere” with Irish identity.

Al-Qadri’s statements on the issue have largely remained consistent over the past few years. He told his congregation in 2017 that those who do not like or respect Ireland should leave.

“Please, go back to where you came from then, seriously,” he said at the time, addressing Muslim migrants unwilling to celebrate “Irishness” on St Patrick’s Day.

“Because if you cannot accept – if you cannot appreciate the host, you are not a true Muslim.”