One of Ireland’s most senior Islamic clerics has backed the deportation of refugees who get involved in illegal activity.

Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Umar al-Qadri issued the call as he warned that “sinister elements” were now trying to stoke dangerous divisions between the Muslim and Christian communities in Ireland.

His warning in a speech to students at Bandon Grammar School in Co. Cork came as Catholic Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr. John Buckley, issued a special plea for compassion and kindness towards refugees.

Al-Qadri, a lifelong campaigner against fundamentalism, warned that migrants who get involved in crime deserve to be punished.

“Refugees involved in illegal activity should be deported. They do not appreciate the host society and ruin it for others,” he said.

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Ireland is now preparing to welcome the first groups of Syrian refugees accepted as part of the EU response to the Mediterranean migration crisis.

Al-Qadri’s comments came as senior Islamic leaders slated as fake a website,, which hailed a “new golden age of Islam” through encouraging Muslims to migrate to Ireland.

Dr. Mudaffar al-Tawash, director of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland, contacted gardai (Irish police) about the website after their contact details were included.

“It is fake... and it is not right. We don’t know anything about it. The gardai are trying to find out what happened,” he said.

In Cork, Bishop Buckley reminded Irish Christians that St. Patrick was a refugee and a slave, and that Irish migrants were once treated harshly in the Britain, the U.S. and Australia.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life around the Mediterranean as desperate migrants attempt to enter the EU. They are in search of a better life. Some will be coming to this country and they are hoping that Ireland will be a place where they are safe and can begin rebuilding their lives,” Buckley said.