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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05DUBLIN1087 2005-09-02 12:47:00 SECRET Embassy Dublin
Cable title:  

IRISH IMAM VOWS TO ARREST EXTREMISTS, BUT WILL HE?

Tags:   PTER KTFN ASEC KHLS PINR 
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					  S E C R E T DUBLIN 001087 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/27/2014
TAGS: PTER KTFN ASEC KHLS PINR
SUBJECT: IRISH IMAM VOWS TO ARREST EXTREMISTS, BUT WILL HE?

REF: DUBLIN 172

Classified By: POL/ECON CHIEF MARY DALY, FOR REASONS 1.4 (B), (D)



1. (C) Summary. Sheikh Hussein Halawa, the most prominent
Muslim in Ireland, said in an August 29 interview with the
Irish Times that he would personally arrest or report
extremists to the Irish authorities. He said that he did not
know extremists that were operating in Ireland, but would
repudiate their views if he encountered them. This bold
announcement is welcome from such a renowned Muslim, but is
met with skepticism by emboffs who see this more as ploy to
gain Irish trust than as serious engagement in the fight
against terrorism. End Summary.



2. (U) In a public interview reported by the Irish Times on
August 29, Sheikh Hussein Mohammed Halawa, Imam of the
Islamic Cultural Center of Ireland (ICCI), pledged through a
translator to personally arrest or report al-Qaeda supporters
and Islamic extremists to Irish authorities. In the
interview, Halawa stated that he had no knowledge of such
sympathizers in Ireland, and that such individuals would not
come to his mosque. He said, "I can't tell what's in
people's brains, but I can say that I don't know anybody who
might be attached to al-Qaeda." He further stated that the
London bombings were "anti-Islamic," and that he would be
willing to report a supporter of such bombings to the
authorities. He also said that he would challenge the views
of extremists, but has not had to do this, yet.



3. (U) The article relayed that Halawa's comments were
prompted by reports that the 7/7 London bombings were
perpetrated by radicalized young Islamic men living and
working in Britain, and a video shown on Arab television that
claimed that al-Qaeda members from Ireland took part in
downing a U.S. helicopter that killed 16 troops in
Afghanistan. Halawa said that he believed the extent of
al-Qaeda's influence is magnified by the media.



4. (U) Halawa, a dual Irish/Egyptian national, is the most
prominent Muslim cleric in Ireland. ICCI is a Sunni mosque
co-located with the European Institute for Humanities and the
European Council for Fatwa and Research. ICCI and Halawa
present the image of Islam to the Irish, and have hosted
events for a wide array of dignitaries and guests, including
both the current and former presidents of Ireland, the Irish
Prime Minister, other Irish politicians, numerous speakers on
Islam, and British MP George Galloway (of the UN Oil for Food
controversy). Halawa was invited to read from the Koran at
the November 2004 Irish presidential inauguration.



5. (C) ICCI also has the nation's largest Muslim
primary/secondary school in Ireland on its campus and
receives education funding from the GOI. The building of
ICCI was financed ten years ago and is still maintained by
funds from the Sheikh Hamdan family and the Maktoum
Foundation of Dubai. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum of
Dubai personally attended the groundbreaking ceremony in


1996. In an interview with emboff, Halawa said that he was
hired by the Hamdan family because he had visited Ireland
from Egypt often as a lecturer. He has also traveled to the
United States.



6. (S/NF) Comment. Post welcomes Halawa's public statement
condemning the 7/7 attacks and terrorism in general, but
remains unconvinced that Halawa will take strong steps to
fight extremism. Despite Halawa's statement, and the
center's reputation as a moderate mosque in Dublin, we retain
some suspicions about his activities and can confirm that
there are known extremists that frequent ICCI:
--The head of ICCI's European Council for Fatwa and Research
is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, banned from entry into the
United States since 1999.
--A Moroccan poloff told U.S. emboff that the GOM requested
that he not attend ICCI for religious services as it is too
radical.
--SIMO colleagues link two of the senior staff at ICCI to
Islamic extremists in Ireland.
--At least one member of ICCI is reported to have gone on
jihad to Iraq as a suicide bomber. End Comment.
KENNY