An imam in Ireland has warned that the Irish government and police do not have enough links in the Islamic community to monitor Muslim fighters returning from Syria and Iraq.

Shaykh Dr Umar al-Qadri, imam of al-Mustafa Islamic Educational and Cultural Centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin, has said that to establish good relations with the Islamic community, Irish police should recruit Muslims of Middle Eastern extraction, the Irish Times reports. He said establishing such links would also be valuable as way to gather intelligence on radicalized Muslims.

“Someone who may be reluctant to speak to a Garda, who is not a Muslim, about these issues – with a Muslim (garda) they may be more comfortable. It’s really important,” he said. “And all of those who have returned from Syria and Iraq after fighting; they should be definitely, definitely, definitely observed.

“People who have gone to Iraq and Syria - they go with a particular ideology and belief: ‘We are fighting the West, we are fighting the non-believers and it is justified, we should be doing this and this is our duty’.

“When they go to Syria, they receive training and they become very familiar about how to use weapons. They get military training. And once they come back, I believe, of course they are a threat. They are definitely a threat.

“And even though that threat is very small, we need to realize the possibility exists and the Muslim community in Ireland needs to have a plan to deal with it. The gardaí also need to sit down with the Muslim leadership and tell them about these people.

“And really, they need to organize to meet them . . . even though there is a high possibility they have been radicalized. But these people need to be observed, really.

“They may not do something,” he said, referring to a possible terrorist attack in Ireland. “But they can radicalize others and this is a chain. And as the chain increases, you don’t know who is going to be affected, who is going to be stupid enough to do an act like that.

“There is radicalization and young Muslims are being recruited,” he added.

“Most of the youngsters who become inspired to go to Syria have been inspired through Facebook pages,” he said.

“The parents had no suspicions at all; nothing was out of place. In the cases I know about, all of the radicalization took place through social media.”

The imam said that while there were more chances of being killed in an automobile accident than in a jihadist attack in the Republic, there is always the possibility.

“However, there is a possibility and it’s a possibility we cannot ignore.”

He said that government agencies need to reach out to more people in the Muslim community. He said the Irish government has reached out to establish a relationship with two mosques in Dublin, but less than 5,000 of the 60,000 Muslims in Ireland worship there, the Irish Times reports.

“The Government has not really approached the Muslim community. They have only approached the Clonskeagh Mosque or the Dublin Mosque [South Circular Road]. They need to be more inclusive.”