'Cancer of hate' flourishing in communities, says imam as he warns of terror attack here
A Muslim imam has warned that an Islamic terrorist attack could happen here and "a cancer of hate" is being allowed to flourish in some Irish Muslim communities.
Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, of the Islamic centre in Blanchardstown, West Dublin, said he has been giving warnings for years that not enough is being done to prevent young Muslims from being radicalised in this country.
Speaking to the Herald, he said he never encountered London Bridge attacker Rachid Redouane, who lived in Rathmines until last year.
However, the imam said the second attacker identified by British authorities - Khuram Shazad Butt - looked "familiar" and may even have visited Dublin.
He said news that Redouane had been living in Dublin was "absolutely shocking and worrying".
"But it's something that I have been saying for the past few years and now it's confirmed.
"I have been warning publicly that there are individuals here that are extremists and somehow they are being provided with a safe haven by certain Muslim leaders," he said.
"By safe haven I mean that they are not being called out, they are not being identified, they are not being excluded, not being excommunicated from the community."
Dr Al-Qadri makes reference to a Facebook page, which he claims incites hatred.
"It's a very, very bad [Facebook] page. It promotes hatred. Whatever it promotes it has nothing to do with Islam. It promotes a perversion of Islam. It promotes distorted views."
He said he had never heard of Redouane.
"His name did not ring any bells. But I have seen the picture of the guy of Pakistani origin. That face is so familiar that I have definitely seen him somewhere in Dublin," he said.
"The one with the long beard - I think I saw him in Dublin."
When asked where he saw him, he replied: "I don't know. I think I could have seen him anywhere. But that is a face I have seen before."
Asked if a terrorist attack could happen here, he replied: "I believe that these extremists live in Ireland. This is a safe haven for them. So it would be very stupid of them to actually do something here because they would be raising the alarm and everything would be uptight, the security and all that.
"But I think, at the moment, they have so much hatred that I would say that it is possible and God forbid that it happens. That would be my greatest concern."
A garda spokesperson declined to comment on whether Butt had entered Ireland or not.