Irish media has reported that the US Embassy in Dublin has sponsored a conference on the need for Shariah-compliant finance at which the US Ambassador presented a copy of President Obama’s book to one of the leaders of the Irish Muslim Brotherhood. According to the report:
The U.S. Embassy in Dublin has sponsored a seminar on Muslim entrepreneurs and business in Ireland. A main point of the conference was the need for Sharia law compliant financial products to be used. The U.S. Embassy supported the conference as part of President Obama’s outreach to Muslims around the world. Ambassador Dan Rooney congratulated the organizers on Wednesday and said that the U.S was “solid partners” in the venture. He gave a copy of President Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope “ to Imam Hussein Halawa, of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, who opened the event. At the conference, Thomas Cooney, academic director of the Dublin Institute of Technology, stated that 76 per cent of Muslim business people in Ireland say securing finance is their biggest problem and 90 per cent said there is a need for financial products to be compliant with Islamic law. There are 45,000 Muslims in Ireland and Islam is the third largest religion reported on census forms. Imam Hussein Halawa said the Muslim culture was deeply dependent on ethics in business and that the paying or charging of interest on loans was forbidden. “The Islamic objective is to avoid all transactions leading to disharmony among people,” he said. Tayyibah Taylor, the founder of the American Muslim women’s magazine Azizah, said Islam was more than a religion, it was a way of life. “If you would feel uncomfortable about having the activity you are doing spread across the front page of a newspaper, you shouldn’t do it,” she said.
Sheikh Halawa is currently the imam of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI) which serves as the headquarters for the Muslim Brotherhood in Ireland. The European Council For Fatwa and Research (ECFR), chaired by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and part of the Federation of Islamic Organizations In Europe (FIOE), is based at the ICCI and at least six meetings of the ECFR are known to have been held in Dublin from 1998-2003. Also listed in the past in Irish corporate records with the same address as the ICCI is the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS). The IUMS is chaired by Youssef Qaradawi and includes many known leaders of the global Muslim Brotherhood such as Faisal Malawi, Jamal Badawi, and Essam Al-Bashir. The ICCI has also sponsored important conferences featuring Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders such as Ibrahim El-Zayat, leader of the German Muslim Brotherhood and Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Tariq Ramadan, and has also sponsored a large number of leaders of the global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas through lectures, courses, and debates including Youssef Qaradawi, US Muslim Brotherhood leader Jamal Badawi, and three individuals known for their anti-Semitic writings- Zaghlol El-Naggar, Wagdy Ghoneim, Harun Yaya. Noah Al-Kaddo, the ICCI executive director, has been listed as an officer in three U.K organizations that are part of the Union of Good, identified in a NEFA Foundation report as a coalition of charities headed by Youssef Qaradawi and helping to raise funds for Hamas. In 2008, the Union of Good was designated by the US as a terrorist organization.
An online biography describes Hussein Halawa as a university lecturer in the Islamic world and a member of Fiqh academies in India and America. A 2006 newspaper interview described his English competence as “limited” and that he requires the use of an English translator for interviews. The same interview reports that a “a strict Islamic code is in operation” at his home and for his five children. Sheikh Halawa also has strong ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood. As of 2007, he was identified as the Secretary-General of the ECFR and a 2006 Irish newspaper article described Halawa as a “close friend” of Youssef Qaradawi.