A leading Muslim cleric who advocates the death penalty for homosexuals and who has defended suicide bombers has been refused entry to Ireland.
Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has been banned from entering the country after his latest attempt to meet with Irish Muslims.
The 84-year-old Egyptian is head of the European Council of Fatwa and Research.
According to the Irish Independent, the ECFR is a private Islamic foundation whose headquarters are at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Dublin.
Al-Qaradawi’s latest attempt to visit Ireland was blocked after immigration officials noted his comments that suicide-bombing attacks on Israelis are ‘martyrdom in the name of God’.
He is currently banned from entering the USA and the UK as well as Ireland and now spends most of his time in the Middle-East state of Qatar where he is a regular guest on satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera.
The Islamic Cultural Centre in Ireland has refused to condemn Al-Qaradawi’s comments on suicide bombings or homosexuality.
Chief executive Dr Nooh al-Kaddo has confirmed to the Irish Independent that Al-Qaradawi’s foundation has its headquarters at the ICCI.
“The sheikh is widely respected and a “learned scholar. His views are representative of Islamic teachings and are not assumed to be a violation of same,” said Dr al-Kaddo.
In the past Al-Qaradawi has been accused of anti-Semitism and homophobia but he has expressed some moderate views, condemning the 9/11 terror attacks and supporting Muslim integration in Western societies.
The ICCI’s defence of Al-Qaradawi has been criticized by other elements of Ireland’s Muslim Community but Dr Al-Kaddo said he rejected such criticism.
“The ICCI is aware that on occasion there are claims it does not take a sufficiently strong stance against global extremism,” he said.
“The ICCI has, on all occasions of extreme violence carried out against innocents, condemned it, especially when the perpetrators claim it to be in the name of Islam.”
He also disputed claims, made in leaked US embassy cables, that ICCI members celebrated the kidnapping of Irish-born aid worker Margaret Hassan in 2004.
“We cannot be held accountable by our community or others for the actions of a few who see matters in a different light,” he told the Independent.
“We are not aware that these celebrations took place. However, we do not condone it if they did. If we had knowledge of such celebrations on our premises we would have endeavored to address the matter immediately and stopped such atrocious behavior.”