First post in a long time, but felt the need to give my two cents on the recent Islamophobic attack in Galway:
“Hatred of evil does not diminish evil, it increases it.” – Gary Zukav
We are living in turbulent times. Blood in the name of religion or politics is too often plastered across news headlines, with the innocent those most often caught in the crossfire. While the solidarity of those in Manchester and London has been duly commended in the wake of such atrocities, it is a news item closer to home, in Galway, that has left me writhing with anger. On Monday evening, the Masjid Maryam mosque in Galway, in which up to 100 members were praying, came under attack with rocks being thrown through the windows.
Imam Ibrahim Ahmad Noonan of the mosque believes this attack to be a direct result of the latest terrorist attack in London: “I believe that this was a direct backlash on our community as a result of the weekend and I am fearful that more attacks will come which could be worse. I am appealing to the Irish public that what is happening in London and Manchester is sad and tragic and unforgiveable but we cannot assume that every Muslim and every mosque is involved or supporting these so called radicals.”
While the Islamic State flaunt their murderous behaviour to be done in the name of Islam, retaliatory attacks of this nature do little but breed further suspicion and hatred between communities, and do less to respect that Muslims too are victims of extremism. But I feel this is something the people of Ireland, through past experience should be more than aware of, and why it makes this attack ever more deplorable.
Ireland for centuries has been on the receiving end of racism. An 1836 parliamentary enquiry considered the Irish immigration into Britain “an example of a less civilised population spreading itself as a substratum beneath a more civilised community.” If we were to remove this from context, and suppose this referred instead to Syrian immigration, this may very well be an argument posed against the recent influx of immigration from the Middle East, and perhaps show support to Trump’s supposed travel ban. This comment was made almost 200 years ago, and shows that while the victim of such degrading sentiment has changed, an almost identical attitude is supported by a sizeable portion of society.
In a time when the Muslim community are at their most vulnerable, when it is too easy to point the finger, and tar all by the same brush which captures ISIS and all it stands for, it is necessary to stand up to adversity, show empathy and understanding in that the Irish people have faced similar difficulties, and know the warmth of a helping hand. Ní neart go cur le chéile – there is no strength without unity.