Bishop Brendan Kelly issued the following statement today after the Ahmadiyya Muslim Maryam mosque in Galway was vandalised early Monday morning. Locks were broken, windows smashed and security equipment stolen.
Bishop Brendan said: "Together with so many of my fellow Galwegians, I am dismayed and shocked at the wilful and malicious assault made last night on the Maryam Mosque in our city. I wholeheartedly condemn the actions of the perpetrators.
Later today I will visit my good friend Iman Ibrahim Noonan to to assure him of my personal support and prayers and to convey to him the very deep sense of outrage felt across our community. An attack on a place of worship is an assault on God and an assault on all people of faith. We stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbours. With them, we reject violence, we reject division and we reject hate.
In this festive week for Galway, I ask all people of goodwill to keep Galway Muslims in their hearts and prayers and to continue showing our fine and welcoming city in its best possible light."
This is the second time the mosque has been vandalised since it opened in 2014. The first attack took place in 2017.
Dr MA Malik, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Ireland, said he believes those responsible for the attack are "a small faction of intolerant people who cannot be accepting of other groups".
Dr Malik said the message of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was "love for all, hatred for none. We invite local communities to visit our place of worship, have food with us and spend time with us. We are a very well integrated community and it's terrible after all our efforts that we are still victimised like this. We believe in peace and tolerance and have been working very hard to spread this message."
The Ahmadiyya faith was founded in 1889 and has up to 200 million worshippers in 200 countries, mainly in several African states, Pakistan and Indonesia,. There are about 30,000 in Britain and 15,000 in north America. There are an estimated 500 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Ireland, including almost 200 in Galway city and county.
There were a total of 63,443 Muslims living in Ireland in 2016 according to the national census.
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