Islamic leaders in Ireland have expressed fears that the terrorist attack in London will be blamed on Islam and fuel division and hatred in society.
The imams strongly condemned the atrocity — which has claimed three lives, as well as that of the British-born attacker Khalid Masood, 52 — and urged Irish people to stay united.
The Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council said it strongly condemns the terrorist attack, which it pointed out has also left more than 40 people injured.
“Our sympathies and prayers are with the people of London and all those affected,” said Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri, chairman of the council.
“Such attacks and violence against innocent people can never be justified under any circumstances.”
Shaykh Al-Qadri said the perpetrators of terrorism aim to “sow seeds of discord and division” in society.
“We cannot allow hatred to divide us,” he said. “At this time, we will see those on the extremes using this as an opportunity to divide society further, to fuel hate, fear, and prejudice.”
He added: “Our strength is in standing united, to share our grief, to console each other, to move beyond these emotions and build a society which is just, peaceful, and fair. We must clearly send a message to those who want to inject violence, fear, and hate into our lives, that you will not win. We will not allow you to be successful.”
He said the London attack seems to be Islamic State-inspired, with the use of a vehicle and knives to carry out the attack.
Imam Ibrahim Noonan of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community condemned the London attack and expressed his deepest condolences to all the families.
“There are no words that I can express to explain why these attacks are happening and have happened throughout Europe and, like many, I too am worried about such an incident happening in Ireland.
“I, as an imam, will do everything in my power to help prevent such an attack on our streets and our cities and I will urge all the imams in Ireland to stand up and help me achieve this.”
He also addressed those who would blame Islam for the atrocity.
“Those who accuse Islam as the cause of this, or that the Holy Prophet is somehow responsible for this, this thinking or accusations are unwarranted.”
He said those who make such allegations “are creating fear, hatred, and intolerance in Ireland”.
He said that when he appears on radio, he often gets abused by Irish people, who are not being fair to Islam.
“Islam does not tolerate terrorism at all. The Quran is full of hundreds of verses that talk about being righteous, tolerant, and to never kill another human being.”
The Muslim Sisters of Éire also condemned the attack and expressed condolences to the victims and their families.
In their response, they quoted the Quran: “Whoever killed a person… It shall be as if he had killed all mankind.”
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