DUBLIN – The imam of Dublin mosque urged the Irish families on Friday, January 13, to help the newly-arrived Syrian refugees to integrate in the society, a few hours before a special welcome event at the Islamic center.
“We would like each and every Syrian family to be introduced to a local, not necessarily a Muslim, even a non-Muslim, any Irish family that it is open to be a host family that will be the point of contact for them,” Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre Ireland in Blanchardstown, Dublin told Dublin Times.
“The two families could go shopping, go together to any other activity – they could visit each other’s place of residence – that is where integration starts, at grass roots level.”
He was speaking ahead of a welcoming event at the center Friday afternoon for a number of Syrian families who recently arrived in Ireland.
The event is being organized in collaboration with the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council, of which imam is Al-Qadri chairman.
“The vast majority of Irish people are open minded, are very welcoming and they understand that you cannot paint every single person with the same brush,” he told RTÉ radio.
“There are many similarities if you look at the Troubles in the North and the experiences of Irish people that were living in London and Liverpool; they are very similar experiences to what Muslim people experience nowadays.”
“They are also being painted with the same brush because of atrocities committed by extremists and there are unfortunately extremists in every community but the vast majority of the Irish are welcoming, open minded.
“I am confident there is no space in this country for that rhetoric, racism. Of course there are individuals, the person in Ballaghaderreen who was distributing anti-Islam, anti-Muslim, anti-refugee leaflets. I think these are isolated incidents in Ireland. Sometimes people have genuine concerns.
“Myself as a Muslim, one of my concerns was that it is our duty to accept refugees; what if a jihadist infiltrates among them? When we look at the Department of Justice they have a very tough screening process.
“I am confident that in Ireland we will not have such cases.”
“I am asking the Government to be more open in regards to their procedure for integration, their plans for the integration of Syrian refugees. As Muslims in Ireland we are transparent, open to anyone.
“The welcome reception today is open to everyone, some of the refugees today are of the Christian faith, some of them are of no faith, and they are all welcome.”