Wikileaks shows US Government probed into Dublin-based Muslim groups

Yusuf al-Qaradawi

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One of the latest cables published by Wikileaks shows that the US Government asked the Dublin embassy to evaluate whether a Dublin-based Muslim think tank was trying to have Sharia law recognized in Europe.

The cable detailed how the US Government asked a series of questions on where the Dublin-based groups such as European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), which uses the Clonskeagh mosque, in Dublin, as their headquarters, and the Islamic Cultural Center in Ireland (ICCI), chaired by Imam Hussein Halawa, were connected with trying to introduce Sharia law.

It seems the US Government believed that such groups were trying to get greater recognition of Islamic Sharia law in Western Europe and they feared that such laws would not be compatible with democracy.

The cable also mentioned that a smaller mosque on the South Circular Road, in Dublin, is known as the "Tora Bora" mosque within the community and is more radical with a high population of Afghan and Bosnian Jihadists.

The Dublin embassy was asked to profile the ECFR, according to the cable from July 2006, sent by US ambassador James Kenny. His message was sent to, the then secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice along with other embassies in Europe and the Middle East.

In the cable Ambassador James Kenny responded to the US Government by telling them that the Dublin-based group, ECFR, was not a "proselytizing body". He stated that their mission was to become an authority on how Islamic law should be interpreted by Muslims living in Europe. He said the group have no real authority to implement the guidelines and no full-time staff. He added that two officers from ICCI were working on its behalf.

The cable also shows that the embassy sought the views of Muslim leaders and journalists on the roles of Halawa and Al-Qaradawi.

The ECFR group is chaired by Yusuf al-Qaradawi (84), a Qatar-based, Egyptian cleric. According to the 2006 cable he is a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, however he is now better known for his weekly talk show on Al-Jazeera. Al-Qaradawi is also known for his controversial views. He has said that he believes homosexuality is punishable by death and that "lightly" beating one's wife is permissible.

Ali al-Saleh, leader of the Iraqi Shi'a Muslims in Milltown, said he believes Halawa and other ICCI leaders to be members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Kenny said "It is doubtful that he, [another senior ICCI official Ali] Saleem, or others suspected of MB [Muslim Brotherhood] involvement operate independently of some informal conservative Islamic or MB hierarchy."

An unnamed journalist told the embassy that the Muslim Brotherhood in Ireland was stronger than anywhere else in the world outside Qatar. He also said that al-Qaradawi "runs Islam in Ireland".

Kenny named the Blackpitts mosque, in Dublin's south city center, as a suspected "gathering place for some radical elements within the Pakistani community".

The US Governments communications also asked the embassy to provide information on pluralist and tolerant groups and individuals. The Government was attempting to identify Muslim leaders who could spread a pro-US message among Ireland's Muslims.

Read more: Diverse Muslim population growing in Ireland

Read more: Why not have Muslim congressman investigate Catholic Church scandals, ala Peter King?