Monday, January 15, 2007

Death Threats in Dublin

Sunday's Observer carried an interesting story about an Imam in Dublin speaking out against the spread of radical Islamism among Irish Muslims:

Imam Shaheed Satardien is taking a stand against those Muslims in Ireland whom he claims are too sympathetic to Osama bin Laden and the cult of the suicide bomber. At Friday prayers in the sports hall in north-west Dublin, the South African-born former anti-apartheid activist warns his multinational congregation against blaming other religions and the West in general for all Muslims' ills.

This will probably come as a shock to many of you, but Imam Satardien has received death threats for expressing his anti-Islamist views. Sadly, he has good reason to take these threats seriously:

Cast out by the majority Islamic community in Dublin for his outspokenness, the 50-year-old preacher says he has received death threats. 'I am standing firm in my beliefs,' Satardien says. 'The truth is more important than being popular or living a quiet life. Extremism has infected Islam in Ireland. It's time to get back to the spiritual aspect of my religion and stop it being used as a political weapon.'

The imam from Cape Town fled his native country following death threats, he says, from Islamic extremists in South Africa. His younger brother, Ibrahim, was shot dead in 1998 following a row with Islamic radicals in the city. When Satardien was told he would be next, he travelled to Ireland, the birthplace of his maternal grandmother, and pleaded for asylum.

(Emphasis added-DD)

Unfortunately, Imam Satardien appears to be facing long odds in his struggle against extremism. This passage illustrates the extent to which Islamism has spread among Ireland's Muslim community:

Satardien, however, is adamant that extremist Wahhabi sects have infiltrated the republic's 40,000-strong Muslim community, especially in Dublin. 'Young, impressionable Muslims in Ireland are being raised to think that suicide bombers are cool. I know for a fact that when the Americans killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq who died after an airstrike in June last year] there were prayers for him in this city. This was for a man who slaughtered other Muslims. What I am trying to do is convince the young people that such practices are un-Islamic, that there is another way,' he says.

(Emphasis added-DD)

I wish this brave man well in his efforts. The Irish authorities need to make sure that Islamists not silence him .


Anonymous BillyWiland said...

In the summer of 2004, as a visiting student of law at UCD Belfield (outside of City Center, Dublin ~ "temple bar district"), I was surprised by the extremist anti-western student protests which were clearly influenced by very thing that this Imam is addressing. I hope and pray for both his safety and success in this matter.

12:00 PM  

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