Senior Muslim cleric calls for deportation of refugees who are involved in illegal activities
One of Ireland's most senior Islamic clerics has backed the deportation of refugees who get involved in illegal activity here.
Shayk Dr Muhammad Umar al-Qadri issued the call as he warned that "sinister elements" were now trying to stoke dangerous divisions between the Muslim and Christian communities in Ireland.
His warning came as the Bishop of Cork & Ross, Dr John Buckley, issued a special plea for compassion and kindness towards refugees as he reminded Irish Christians that St Patrick was a refugee and a slave - and that Irish migrants were once treated harshly in the UK, US and Australia.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life around the Mediterranean as desperate migrants attempt to enter the EU. They are in search of a better life," he said.
"Some will be coming to this country and they are hoping that Ireland will be a place where they are safe and can begin rebuilding their lives.
"It is important that the local church be at the forefront of efforts to welcome them," Dr Buckley said.
But Dr al-Qadri, a lifelong campaigner against fundamentalism, warned that migrants who get involved in crime deserve to be punished.
"Refugees involved in illegal activity should be deported. They do not appreciate the host society and ruin it for others," he said.
Ireland is now preparing to welcome the first groups of Syrian refugees accepted as part of the EU response to the Mediterranean migration crisis.
Dr al-Qadri's comments also came as senior Islamic leaders slated as fake a website which hailed a "new golden age of Islam" through encouraging Muslims to migrate to Ireland.
The site, hijra2ireland.com, was slated by both Dr al-Qadri and Dr Ali Selim of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland.
In another alarming development, a second social media site - which claims to represent an Islamic fundamentalist - has been set up with a Dublin address and contains deeply offensive remarks about Christians and even Pope Francis.
Dr Mudaffar al-Tawash, director of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland (IFI), contacted gardai about the 'Hijira' website after their contact details were included - the IFI were totally unaware of both the site and its migration claims.
Dr al-Qadri also expressed alarm over recent attacks in Germany and Sweden. He said the onus is now on religious leaders to work hard to promote understanding and positive exchanges between faiths.
Dr al-Qadri was today visiting Bandon Grammar School in Cork to speak to students about Islam.