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Islam in Ireland

Islam in Ireland



The documented history of Islam in Ireland dates to the 1950s. The number of muslims in Ireland increased considerably since the 1990s.


The first Islamic Society in Ireland was established in 1959. It was formed by Muslim students studying in Ireland and was called the Dublin Islamic Society (later called the Islamic Foundation of Ireland)[1]. At that time there was no mosque in Dublin. The students used their homes and later rented halls for Jum'ah (Friday) and Eid prayers. In 1969 the students began to contact their relatives and some Islamic organizations and Muslim countries for the purpose of collecting donations to establish a MosqueIn 1976 the first mosque and Islamic Centre in Ireland was opened in a four story building at 7 Harrington Street, Dublin 8. Among those who contributed to the project of the Mosque and Islamic Centre was the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. In 1981 the Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs of Kuwait sponsored a full time Imam for the Mosque.

A few years after the establishment of the first Islamic Centre and Mosque in Dublin, the Mosque became too small for the increasing numbers of worshippers.[2] The Muslims in charge of the society started a second campaign to collect donations in order to establish a bigger mosque. In 1983 the present building of the Dublin Mosque and Islamic Centre was bought, renovated and the headquarters of the Society moved from Harrington Street to 163 South Circular Road, Dublin 8.[citation needed]

The same situation has been happening in Cork, with many prayer halls being located in housing estates. At present, Cork's Muslim community are operating out of an industrial estate, while waiting for funding to build a new mosque.[3]

In 1992 Moosajee Bhamjee became the first (and to date only) Muslim Teachta Dála (Member of Irish Parliament)[4].

Demography and ethnic background

According to the 2006 Irish census, there are 32,539 Muslims (19,372 males and 13,167 females) living in the Republic of Ireland. representing a 69.% increase over the figures for the 2002 census (19.147). In 1991, the number of Muslims was below 4000 (3.873).

According to the 2001 census in Northern Ireland, there are 1,943 Muslims (1,164 males 779 females) living north of the border.

The Muslim community in Ireland is considerably diverse and its numbers are not determined by the country's history to the same extent as the UK and France, where the majority of Muslims are immigrants or descendants of immigrants from former colonies, or Germany and Austria, where the majority of Muslims are Turkish migrant workers and their descendants. There is no dominant ethnicity within the Muslim community in Ireland. The country's Muslims come from South Asia, East Asia, Oceania, and Indonesia. There are also Muslims from Arab countries, a growing number from Sub-Saharan Africa. The large Muslim immigration in the end of the 90ies was caused by the Irish economic boom and asylum seekers from diverse Muslim countries.

Muslims now make up the third largest faith group in Ireland.

Mosques and religious centres

The growing number of mosques are testament to the fact that the Muslim community, albeit relatively small, is now established in Ireland.

The main mosques and Islamic cultural centres in Ireland are:

Imam: Sheikh Dr. Zille-Umar Qadri

In 2003, the Islamic Cultural Centre and Foras na Gaeilge joined forces to translate the Qur'an into Irish for the first time.

In September 2006 an umbrella organization, the Irish Council of Imams, was established. It represents all 14 imams in Ireland, of both the Sunni and Shia traditions. It is chaired by Imam Hussein Halawa (Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland), its deputy chairman is Imam Yahya Al-Hussein (Islamic Foundation of Ireland), and its general secretary is Ali Selim.

In September 2007 Al-Hidayah Islamic Cultural Centre was opened in Dublin 15 under leadership of Sheikh Dr. Zille-Umar Qadri.

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