Photo Credit: Philip McKinley
Religious communities must stand united in solidarity and show extremists that they will never succeed in dividing them, the Chief Imam of the Islamic Centre of Ireland, Shaykh Dr Umar al-Qadri, Chair of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council, said in a visit to Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin last month. Dr al-Qadri made his remarks in an address to the congregation before the Cathedral Eucharist on Sunday 28 April, one week after the Easter Day massacre in Sri Lanka which left 257 people dead. His visit mirrored one made to the Islamic Centre of Ireland in March, following the terror attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
In his address, the imam expressed solidarity with Christians in Ireland and worldwide, and said that, as Muslims, they strongly condemned the cowardly attacks against peaceful worshippers and stood in solidarity with the victims of these attacks and their Christian brothers and sisters everywhere.
“An attack on any place of worship is an attack on all places of worship”, he said. “An attack on any faith community is an attack on all faith communities. These attacks were not only attacks on Christians but these attacks were attacks on all of us.”
In addition to the 15 March attack on mosques in New Zealand, in which 50 people died, he also spoke about the Passover attack on 27 April at a synagogue in California, in which one worshipper was killed, and the attack six months earlier at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in which 11 people were killed.
“The terrorists behind the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka claimed to have acted in the name of Islam”, he said. “How dare they claim to have acted in the name of Islam. These terrorists trampled upon the fundamental teachings of Islam. These terrorists are guilty of committing the biggest blasphemy.
“The monsters behind the attacks on innocent human beings are not real Muslims. They do not represent Islam. In fact these monsters do not represent any faith or any community. They only represent extremism and terrorism. The same applies to those extremists that kill worshippers in the mosque and in the synagogue. They do not represent any faith nor any community. They only represent extremism and terrorism. These two evils are enemies of all humanity. Those behind the attacks are enemies of humanity.”