Close to 100 members of the Galway Masjid Maryam mosque were left terrified after rocks were thrown through the windows, during prayer on Monday evening.
Imam Ibrahim Ahmad Noonan says the building was vandalized, during Ramadan, as revenge for the London Islamic State attack on Saturday.
The attack on the Galway mosque took place at 11.20pm, as the community gathered for evening prayers breaking their daily fast during the holy period of Ramadan, when the mosque would be particularly busy. No one was injured.
The Galway mosque attack Imam Noonan said “Last night, during the time of prayer and actually as we prayed, rocks smashed through the windows.”
He told the Irish Times “I was leading the prayers when we heard an extremely loud bang and obviously we were in the middle of the prayers so continued on but there were one or two people who left the prayers to see what the bang was.”
Truly sad while men , women , children were praying when I was leading prayer , we were attacked pic.twitter.com/YdsQsOiT7G— Imam Ibrahim Noonan (@ImamNoonan) June 6, 2017
The attack was caught on closed-circuit television. Irish police are investigating. Galway Bay FM reports that the footage shows a number of people picking up stones and throwing them through the windows.
The attack has been captured on CCTV, and Gardaí are investigating. It’s understood a number of people can be seen outside the mosque, picking up stones and deliberately throwing them through the windows before running off. The Irish Times report that the perpetrators are believed to be Irish.
Imam Noonan told the Times “Technically, one is not supposed to break the prayer, but we had men, women and children inside the mosque praying at the time so they were quite anxious, so it was very stressful for us to have the windows smashed with rocks.
“The rocks came smashing through the windows and could have seriously injured on of my members. We have had attacks in the past, but I feel this is a deliberate attack. We can tell that this is a deliberate attack based on the tragic events in London and Manchester in recent weeks.”
The Galway Imam called for calm in the Irish community following the recent attacks.
“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 unforgivable but we cannot just assume that every Muslim and every mosque is involved or supporting these so called radicals.”
Gardai investigation into vandalism at Galway mosque ongoing. Imam here says he believes the incident linked to terrorist attack in London pic.twitter.com/Hs5zU5dxHK— Pat McGrath (@patmcgrath) June 6, 2017
He added “I am thankful that the rocks did not hit any of the children inside. People were anxious to leave the building last night after the attack took place. We are now reassessing the situation for the next few days as we might encourage women and children to pray at home to protect their safety in case of further attack.”
Shaykh Dr Umar Al Qadri, Chair of Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council, has condemned, what he called the “shocking” attack in Galway.
“The Muslims are alive in the war against extremism and we are victims of these extremists ourselves. We are as much appalled and as much saddened by the events in Manchester or London as any other person.
Al-Qadri continued “To blame Muslims would be doing exactly what Isis wants and it is falling into the trap of Isis. I urge everyone to stand up against hatred and stand united with the Muslims. Extremists are enemies of all of us, so therefore I am urging everyone to be united and all of us should stop any support of extremism.”
This attack on the Galway mosque came just two days after three assailants murdered seven people and injured dozens in London city center on Saturday night. One of the killers, Rachid Redouane (30), lived in Rathmines, Dublin for a number of years. An Irish identity card was found on his body after he was shot by police on Saturday night. Since the incident there has been much comment over the fact that ISIS could be using Ireland and the EU freedom of movement agreement to enter the United Kingdom.