herald

Friday 15 December 2017

a small number of anti-Islam demonstrators clashed with racism protesters outside a Dublin mosque yesterday.

a small number of anti-Islam demonstrators clashed with racism protesters outside a Dublin mosque yesterday.

The group calling themselves 'Anti-Islam Ireland' met at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland on Roebuck Road, Dublin 14 at 2pm.

However, a larger gathering of anti-racism demonstrators numbering between 90 and 120 people also attended the scene.

Anti-Islam Ireland event organiser Sandra Archer said their aim was to highlight what she called the "wrongdoing of the Islamic faith across the world."

Ms Archer claimed that a larger number of protesters had gathered earlier in the day at their original meeting place, but many had been scared away by "republicans" who threatened the group with violence.

The group later claimed their "freedom of expression" was curtailed by the counter-protesters yesterday.

There were a small number of scuffles between demonstrators and threats were made and exchanged between the two groups.

An Anti-Islam Ireland poster was pulled down by anti-racism demonstrators and was torn up in front of gardai.

However, there was a large garda presence and the event passed largely without incident.

Gardai say the Anti-Islam group asked for protection when leaving, and they were accompanied away on foot.

Members of the mosque had earlier approached anti-Islam protesters and offered them tea, coffee and dates.

Head of Community Welfare Department at the Mosque, Summayah Kenna, said: "It is tradition in Islam to distribute dates in welcoming.

"We do this whether it be a positive or negative meeting.

"We are disappointed with the protest, but of course we always support the right to freedom of speech," she added.

Waleed Fahmy, who is originally from Egypt but who has been living in Ireland for the past 30 years, said he felt the views of the protestors are a long way off reflecting those of the Irish people.

He said: "Muslims here have been shown a lot of love by the Irish community."

"I am Irish", he added. "That's how I see myself.

Gardai praised the behavior of both sides as the protest passed without major incident.

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