The largest Sunni mosque in Ireland has retorted claims made in a US diplomatic cable and released by WikiLeaks that it is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and other such groups.
The Irish Times has reported that the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, housed in the south Dublin suburb of Clonskeagh, has moved to counter the perception contained in a July 2006 memo.
WikiLeaks has publicised the memo from then US Ambassador to Secretary of State at the time Condoleezza Rice.
Kenny’s memo was also copied to other US embassies, both in Europe and in the Middle East.
In the memo, Kenny outlines his embassy’s impressions of the ‘dynamics shaping Island’ in Ireland with particular emphasis on the Cultural Centre in Clonskeagh.
Ambassador Kenny outlines in his memo the role of the Dublin Centre as headquarters of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, the body headed by the controversial Muslim Brotherhood-linked cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Criticisms of the Centre from within Ireland’s Muslim community are also included in the memo which states that several critics are of the opinion that senior figures in the Clonskeagh are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential transnational Islamist movement.
In conclusion, Kenny states that the council is ‘little more than a paper tiger’.
The Centre issued a statement on Wednesday in response to the claims. It said: “We welcome everybody to come and perform the acts of worship without allowing them to use the mosque for promoting certain agendas.
“This applies to even our employees, who might have a certain way of thinking or adopt a certain school of thought, but they are not allowed to use the ICCI or its facilities to promote their own personal views or agenda.
“ICCI management takes full responsibility for the services it provides and the activities it organises, not for how the worshippers think or what affiliations they have.
“We call for integration and peaceful coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims.”
One of the few voices recognised by the memo as calling for integration within Ireland’s Muslin population spoke to the Irish Times in the wake of the WikiLeaks revelations.
Umar Qadri was named in the memo along with Shaheed Satardien, Allama Zille and Mian Ghulam Bari and his son Mazhar Bari.
Qadri told the paper that the cable reflected 90 per cent of the reality of the situation in 2006 but he added that much had changed since then, with more co-ordination between institutions and individuals and a greater emphasis on the need for integration.
The cable also said that ‘one of the most pro-democracy and pro-USG policy Islamic voices in Ireland was that of Dr Ali al-Saleh, imam at the Shia mosque in Milltown, Dublin’.
The memo also claimed that the US embassy in Ireland had been helping him to gain a higher profile, including in the media.
“It was the truth at the time. The Shias were supportive of the role the US played in getting rid of Saddam Hussein. We were pro-US in terms of their role in promoting democracy in the region. This is a matter of principle,” Dr al-Saleh told the Times.
Dr Saleh also confirmed that he had received assistance from the US embassy in writing an Irish Times article which the cable described as a ‘positive opinion piece’ on the third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.