Irish show Muslims solidarity

Irish community leaders in Britain have spoken out in support of Muslim immigrants in the wake of police raids in Birmingham that have seen nine men arrested in connection with an alleged terror plot.

Dr Mary Tilki, chair of the Federation of Irish Societies, told an audience at a regional FIS meeting in Liverpool at the weekend that she was concerned at the series of arrests as well as police raids last year in the East End of London.

She said: “I am particularly saddened by the abuse and hostility targeted at members of the Asian community. We have been there as a community and we know what it is like. I would like to think that Irish organisations and Irish people can support the Asian/Muslim community.”

Dr Tilki said since the terrorist bomb atrocities in the city it had taken more than 30 years for Irish people in Birmingham to feel safe in expressing their Irishness. She continued: “The Asians are no different and like us the vast majority abhor any link with terrorism.”

The FIS chair said that the Prevention of Terrorism Act had made legitimate the labelling of all Irish people as terrorists. She said: “Homes were raided; people were persistently stopped and searched but the level of conviction was low”.

And she warned: “The police and security services have a difficult job to do; their intelligence is arguably more sophisticated. But they do not appear to have learned lessons from the miscarriages of justice against Irish people”.

Irish World, 7 February 2007