Irish media is reporting on statements by Irish Muslim Brotherhood leaders saying that a ban on face veils violates personal freedoms. According to a report in the Irish Times:
THE IRISH Council of Imams, a group which represents Muslims living in Ireland, has spoken out against attempts to ban the niqab elsewhere in Europe and called on members of the religion to contribute positively to the societies in which they are living. The council said that a ban on the niqab – a veil worn by Muslim women that covers everything except the eyes – violates personal freedoms guaranteed by democratic systems. It added that such bans also constitute an obstacle to multiculturalism, integration and human rights. Its comments come following moves by governments in several countries to restrict the wearing of niqabs. The council’s secretary general Ali Selim told The Irish Times the decision to issue a statement on the wearing of the niqab followed on from widespread media attention on the issue. “While there is no problem with the niqab in Ireland, it is something which is being debated in many places right now,” said Mr Selim. The Irish Council of Imams, which represents 14 imams and includes those from Sunni and Shia traditions, also called on Muslims living in Europe, and in particular in Ireland, to contribute to the societies where they live and seek to integrate in a way that enables them to preserve their identity.
The Times report also cites statements by Mr. Selim urging the adoption of Sharia-compliant financial services for Irish Muslims.
The Irish Council of Imams (ICI) is strongly associated with the Islamic Cultural Center of Ireland (ICCI) and is registered at the same address. The ICCI, in turn, is an important part of the European Muslim Brotherhood serving as host for the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), the theological body headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. The ICCI is also the registered headquarters for Qaradawi’s International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS). Noah Al-Kaddo, the ICCI Executive Director, is also an officer of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), the European umbrella organization for the Muslim Brotherhood and the parent organization of the ECFR.
Ali Selim, the ICI leader, is the private secretary to ICCI Imam Hussein Halawa and is described as a “resident theologian.” Mr. Selim attracted a great deal of local media attention in September 2006 when he told a newspaper interviewer that, ideally, he would like to see Shariah law adopted in Ireland in the “event of a Muslim majority.” Along the same lines, Mr. Selim said in 2006 that religious law should be imposed over secular law if that was wished by the majority. Other controversial statements by Mr. Selim include:
- Suggesting that there were conspiratorial forces behind the 911 attacks saying “history, definitely, will prove to us that those people were not the only ones involved in 9/11. That, in actual fact, there’s a wider circle that’s under the shade so we can’t see it at the moment. “
- Saying he had seen no proof that Muslims carried out the July 2006 London bombings, suggesting that videotapes of the bombers might have been faked and that he was not aware that they were identified by their own families.
- Claiming he was unaware of any Muslims calling for Jihad against the West
- Saying that he had “no opinion” about Osama Bin Laden