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Friday, 14 September, 2001, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Belfast mosque attacked as fears rise
Bricks have been thrown at the mosque in south Belfast.

The attack came as some in the Irish Republic's 15,000 strong Muslim community expressed concern about a possible backlash against them following Tuesday's terror attacks in the US.

Local Muslims gathering for Friday prayer in the building on Wellington Park discovered the damage to the building.

It is understood no-one was injured.

Two windows were broken in the mosque.

South Belfast assembly member Alex Maskey condemned the attack.

He said: "Intolerance and racism can have no place in our society."

Time of tension

It came at a time when many in the Muslim community fear they may become the focus of anger following the terror attacks which destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon killing thousands.


People are afraid that some people might jump to conclusions and associate Islam or Muslims, with this act

Iman Al Hussein
They are worried that the Muslim community could be scape-goated if it is seen that the Saudi dissident believed to have masterminded the attacks Osama bin Laden, is being given a place to hide by the Taleban in Afghanistan.

Some members of the Irish Muslim community have said the television pictures of rejoicing in the West Bank has given a distorted view of the Islamic community's reaction to the attacks.

Fear in Dublin

Iman Al Hussein, who prays at the mosque in Dublin City Centre, said he was clear about what his community felt about the attacks.

He said: "We unreservedly condemn these terrorist acts in the US. We offer our condolences to the families if victims and to the American people."


I strongly believe that our culture does not allow us to behave like that. It is morally wrong to celebrate somebody's death

Ali Halimeh
He added: "People are afraid that some people might jump to conclusions and associate Islam or Muslims with this act, which is no way is representative of Islam or Muslims.

"They are afraid they may be subjected to violence or abuse because of the emotions of some people."

Palestinian Delegate General to Ireland Ali Halimeh said: "The people who went into the streets the West Bank in Gaza were misguided elements being pushed by people who are irresponsible.

"I strongly believe that our culture does not allow us to behave like that. It is morally wrong to celebrate somebody's death."

He said he was worried about what America may do following the attacks.

US President George W Bush has warned Americans not to blame Arab-Americans for the terror attacks.

However, he has pledged to root out the terrorism networks of bin Laden and other fundamentalist groups.

There have already been several attacks on mosques and Arab-American community buildings in the US.

Arab-American groups in several US cities say they have received death threats by phone, and hate messages on internet sites.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Edel McAllister reports from Dublin
"Many in the Irish Muslim community are fearful of attacks and uneasy about what the US will do next"
See also:

14 Sep 01 | Education
Fear closes Islamic schools
12 Sep 01 | South Asia
Taleban tense as US seeks targets
13 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Families fear loved ones dead
14 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
NI mourns terror attack victims
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