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Friday 20 September 2019

'Hijab attack on girl shows racism here', says Sinead

Sinead O'Connor
Sinead O'Connor
Footage of the attack

Singer Sinead O'Connor has said she would be "more frightened as a Muslim" in Ireland than in America.

Speaking in the wake of an attack on a Muslim girl who was pelted with eggs and had her hijab removed in Dundrum last weekend, Sinead - now known as Shuhada Sadaqat - described the incident as "shameful".

Asked in a radio interview due to air later today if she would be frightened to play gigs in America "with the amount of hate and racism" that exists there, she said: "There is an awful lot of hate and racism towards people in this country too, especially towards people like myself who are Muslim.

"I'd be more frightened as a Muslim in Ireland at the moment than in any other country. I don't get much of it but my brothers and sisters get it, my Muslim brothers and sisters, I mean.

"I have experienced a fair bit of prejudice about the hijab.

"I am lately seeing spates of particularly Muslim teenagers being attacked recently by Irish teenagers.

"I don't feel like we are in a position to judge anyone else," she added.

In relation to the assault in Dundrum, she said: "I don't like obviously the abuse of a woman either on top of it all. And to take off the hijab - it just isn't acceptable... it's shameful."

She said Ireland "wasn't there yet" when it came to stamping out discrimination from society either.

"We even have racism towards each other - northside and southside, Travellers and not Travellers. We are all a bit racist to each other," she said.

She said the situation had improved recently, however.

"I think it is better certainly than when I was a kid. But there was no option religiously then, so there wasn't an issue of this whole Muslim thing.

"There was no slagging people off for being... there wasn't abuse on religion grounds.

"There was abuse on gay grounds, being a woman grounds, and abuse on being black grounds, but not on what religion you were or what you chose to wear to represent that religion, because there was only one bloody religion."

Targets

She said "vulnerable" Muslim teenagers were being targeted.

"It is interesting to me, I don't know why it is only Muslims singled out in this country for the abuse; there is a million different religions in this country and it is only the Muslim teenagers who seem to be getting the hassle," she added.

"I think it is because you are picking on the most vulnerable and gentle - the Muslim people are incredibly gentle - picking on people who are not going to fight back, so it is quite cowardly."

Sinead was speaking during an extended interview with Barry Egan on Newstalk due to air this evening at 7pm.

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