Monday, August 28, 2006


First of all, let me say that I hate all these words that end in 'phobia'. According to Webster a phobia is "an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation". If people are 'afraid of Islam' that may not be entirely logical (arguable), but anyone who claims the fear is "inexplicable" is being far less logical than anyone who fears Islam.

Okay, now that I've got that out of the way …

The head of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism claims that "Islamophobia" is "being heightened by recent irresponsible media reports". What's bothering the NCCRI is the press that Sheikh Dr Shaheed Satardien got when he claimed Ireland was a "haven for fundamentalism".

Satardien was on radio shows and in the newspapers for a few days and I heard other Muslims disputing what Satardien had to say. Isn't that the way these things should work? I'm not sure what the NCCRI wants - that people like Satardien not be allowed to speak?

Even if his group is small, that doesn't mean what he had to say was unimportant. What's interesting to me is that when I heard Satardien on the radio I was reassured. I remember thinking that as long as the Muslim community in Ireland has people like Satardien we have less to fear. If anything, Satardien is generating increased 'Islamophilia'.

It's great that the NCCRI has such faith in the Gardai, but I'm skeptical that they have the cultural and linguistic skills to thwart any potential terrorist threat. Citizens like Satardien are a real plus.