Gardai are monitoring the activities of a group of radical young Muslims in Dublin, the Sunday Independent has learned. The group has no official links to any of the mainstream mosques or the main Muslim sects in Ireland. They have been monitored gathering at an address in Dublin, which they have used as an informal mosque.
Members of the Muslim community in Dublin last night said they are concerned that young men have come under the influence of the same kind of extreme Wahhabi Islamism associated with the jihadists behind the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris.
The young Irish Muslim radicals have eschewed ‘Western’ practices including listening to any music, according to sources in the Muslim community.
The revelation comes amid fears that Islamic extremists have started using Ireland as a base and transit zone after tough new European laws have limited their movements in the EU, and that the country is seen as being soft on jihadism.
The Taoiseach yesterday said the situation was being closely watched.
However, the Sunday Independent has learned that Ireland-based jihadists face up to 20 years in prison for channelling funds to extremist groups in the Middle East under tough anti-terrorism laws. Last week, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald announced that the Criminal Assets Bureau could be asked to “follow the money” raised by suspected Islamic terrorists living in Ireland. The Department of Justice is also introducing new legislation aimed at stamping out the growing threat of terrorists being trained here to carry out attacks similar to those that devastated France three weeks ago.
Between 25-30 people are known to have travelled from Ireland to conflict zones in the Middle East where the so-called Islamic State has been waging a jihadi war.
Garda and Muslim community figures say there is very little sympathy or support here for jihadism and virtually no support for the most extreme forms being practised by ISIL in the Middle East. However, there has been some support among more radical elements of the Muslim Brotherhood here for Al-Qaeda, who are rivals of ISIL and who claimed responsibility for the Paris murders.
The only “significant” potential targets here are the Israeli and US embassies and possibly the US Air Force flights through Shannon. And churches, cathedrals, Government buildings and museums, dance ahlls, pubs and theatres – all institutions of the kuffur and infidel.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald also denied reports that Ireland is being used as a jihadist base. “There is no particular information to suggest there is an immediate threat to Ireland from fighters returning from the Middle East,” she said.