It’s still a long way from Mecca to Limerick

first_imgFacebook Print Advertisement WhatsApp Email Previous article‘Invisible’ refugee children at riskNext articleBill back for flying visit admincenter_img NewsLocal NewsIt’s still a long way from Mecca to LimerickBy admin – November 22, 2012 519 Linkedin AS AN island nation, we have always been wary of outsiders. The common concept of fearing what we do not understand runs deep in our Irish ways.We continue to conceive different ways to ours as ‘wrong’ or ‘too different’ to be accepted. Throughout our history we have been known to regard diversity – whether cultural, religious or ethnic – with suspicion and, sometimes, even outright contempt.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The long shadow of religious intolerance and acts of terrorism associated with people of middle-eastern origin is behind much of the suspicion aimed at Muslims. A fair comparison would be to accuse your local parish priest of being an IRA terrorist. You would know that somehow it’s not quite right but sometimes it’s hard to think beyond the Catholic/Nationalist link that has characterised much of the debate about the troubles in Northern Ireland.Unfortunately, much of the same thought process is behind the condemnation of Muslims simply for practicing their faith.Local Immam  Khaled Abdhulghafur moved to Limerick from Scotland and he believes that Ireland is “30 years behind other countries regarding attitude towards Muslims”.“When I was living in Glasgow, no one had to give me a second look, I was accepted for who I was,” he said.The Imam explained how he is treated very differently in Limerick because of his religion.He told the Limerick Post he often “gets looks” and is “slandered” in public. Verbal abuse is frequent with jeering and name calling happening at least twice a month. However he considers himself one of the lucky ones. Many of his people have been physically attacked when caught alone just for being Muslim.Mr Abdhulghafur stressed the point: “Everybody is different, You should be able to accept people the way they are.”A study conducted by James Carr, of the Sociology at the University of Limerick, explores how extensive anti-Muslim hostility is in the Republic of Ireland and how it manifests itself in community relations.His research has been on going since September 2010 and his findings have shown that more than a third of the people participating in the study reported experiencing some form of anti-Muslim hostility with Muslim women almost twice as likely to be targeted as Muslim men.Limerick demonstrated similarities with the other 13 Irish towns/cities involved in the study reporting instances of physical and verbal abuse ranging from the forcible removal of head scarves to having missiles thrown at people without provocation.In terms of discrimination, the main area of complaint highlighted in the study was that of employment.Mr Carr says “Comments and treatment that erroneously associate all Muslims with terrorism are common and reminiscent of the abuse experienced by Irish people in the United Kingdom during the Troubles.” Twitterlast_img read more