Irish authorities have added their voices to the growing international concern about the influence of extremist Islamic terrorist groups on young people.
Young girls being seduced online and becoming ‘jihadi brides’ is a particular worry for Maura Conway, senior lecturer in international security at the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University and coordinator of Vox-Pol – a project focused on researching the impacts of violent online political extremism.
Conway says her research suggests that increasing numbers of adolescent Irish girls are Islamic State (IS) targets, despite the fact that many Irish citizens are either Catholic or Protestant.
“The internet is playing a significant part in violent radicalisation. It seems like some jihadi brides in the UK have been influenced by online content consumption and interaction,” says Conway.
In late September 2015, moderate Irish Muslim groups agreed that groups like IS trawl the internet in many guises, looking for new recruits, including young and innocent Irish Muslims. Businesswoman Fardus Sultan says that it is imperative for all nations to combat ‘Islamophobia’. Sultan called for more internet restrictions with regard to pornography, paedophilia, beheadings, shootings and mass executions.
Senior Muslim cleric Ali Selim, an academic at Trinity College in Dublin, says: “Ireland is not involved in any war in any part of the world, and as a result of that, Ireland has a very neutral attitude regarding the international issue [of IS].
“Islamophobia cannot flourish unless there is an unhealthy attitude that allows it to flourish, and I don’t think that will take place in Ireland at all,” says Selim – cautioning, however, that Muslim communities are frustrated by misrepresentations of their faith.
“For someone to carry out [such] atrocities in the name of Islam is horrific,” says Sultan, referencing the mass execution of holidaymakers on a Tunisian beach in June this year. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.
Category: Summer 2015