Ireland is not overrun with Radical Islamists. Salafi Jihadist preachers are not spouting hate and intolerance in the majority of Ireland’s mosques. Apart from some small pockets in Dublin there is not the same level of Islamic ghettoisation in Ireland as opposed to say Sweden where so called no-go areas are widespread and the city of Malmö is infamous for radicalisation and general anti-Western sentiment (radical Islam has an irony bypass).
What is notable about Ireland’s attitude to Islamic radicals is the ad-hoc and amateur approach that is taken to the matter by law enforcement and the judiciary. This is mirrored by a general lack of interest and awareness amongst the Irish public.
Military Intelligence & the Garda Special Detective Unit’s Middle Eastern Desk
These bodies are tasked with monitoring potential jihadists in Ireland and Irish citizens who fight abroad in war zones – specifically Syria and Iraq – for Muslim extremist organisations such as the self-proclaimed “Islamic State”.
Their activities are obviously covert and their objectives and methods are clearly not publicly available or discussed – and rightly so. However, despite numerous attempts by associates it seems that there is no specific publicly available over-arching and non-compromising strategy document (heavily redacted or otherwise) that is available via the FoI Act.
It would be helpful and indeed, in the public interest, to see such a document to determine what level of significance is given to certain potential threats or what the attitude of these units is to the ramshackle approach to some key issues that the public sees via the Irish Court system.
Free Movement for Radical Clerics
The questionable choices of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland and their hosting of several ultra-radical clerics in the past is a matter of record and this blog has covered that in previous posts. The “Centre” is run by Sheikh Hussein Halawa (who will not speak English when interviewed (18 years in Ireland)), wants Sharia law, insists on Halal food in all Irish schools and separate buildings and gymnasiums for his followers.
Many Muslims in Ireland speak of the ICCI as the “Ikhwani” mosque, an Arabic-language reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. In the past the ICCI has hosted Egyptian cleric Wagdy Ghoneim (or Wagdi Ghoneim or Wajdi Ghunaim) a supporter of suicide bombing. The UN list of people associated with al-Qaeda includes two people in Ireland both of whom worship at the Clonskeagh mosque.
The ICCI has attempted once again recently to host Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The 84-year-old Egyptian is head of the European Council of Fatwa and Research and is infamous for issuing fatwas that sanction violence and stoke sectarian and religious hatred.
The Cancelled Visit to Ireland of Dr Othman Alkhamees
A Muslim conference that was due to take place this weekend in Dublin was cancelled at the last minute after Dr Othman Alkhamees, the keynote speaker, pulled out. Alkhamees is a Kuwaiti Islamic scholar who was previously banned from travelling to Holland following objections about his radical rhetoric and extremist views. He is known for his efforts to radicalise Muslim youths.
Alkhamees was due to address the two-day Dublin Muslim Conference 2016 at the Dublin Mosque. But according to mosque administrator Mudafar Altawash, the so-called “giant within conservative Salafi Islam” cancelled his appearance last Thursday night without giving a reason. Alkhamees has been to Dublin on two previous occasions it seems.
The conference was organised by the Irish Kuwaiti student group Thabat Ireland and hosted by the Islamic Foundation of Ireland, which is based at the mosque on the South Circular Road, Dublin.
Tip-off from Imam Ali Al Saleh
The conference drew the attention of the Gardaí after Ali Al Saleh, the imam at the Ahlul Bayt Islamic Centre in Milltown, south Dublin, warned them of the impending visit. He claimed that Dr Alkhamees and fellow Kuwaiti scholar Dr Khaled Alotaibi, an expert in Sharia law, are both jihad preachers.
Muslim leader Imam Umar al-Qadri has also expressed his concerns over “radical” scholars preaching to young students in Ireland. “My concern would be that such people and their ideas radicalises young Muslims. I believe that foreign preachers coming to Ireland should sign an agreement that they respect and abide by certain guidelines in order to preach here,” he said.
He spoke about signing a statement denouncing Islamic terrorists, their teachings and the elevation and praise of figureheads like the late Osama bin Laden while promising to show respect and tolerance for the LGBT community and respecting the laws of the land and its culture.
The Ali-Charaf Damache Debacle
This man was an Algerian born Irish citizen. He was wanted by US authorities on international terrorism charges while living in Ireland. He had been living in Ireland for more than a decade and the US authorities wanted him to face charges relating to conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists and attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism.
He had been also accused in Ireland of sending a menacing text message to the US Muslim activist Majed Moughni in January 2010. He pleaded guilty to the charge on day six of his trial. He was subsequently sentenced to four years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended by Judge Donagh McDonagh.
Minutes after he had pleaded guilty to the charge, he was arrested in Waterford Courthouse on foot of a High Court warrant relating to the US extradition proceedings. In May 2015, Ireland refused to order his surrender to US authorities and Damache walked free.
In a statement issued to RTE Prime Time through his solicitor Caroline Egan, Mr Damache said he ”was very happy with [the] ruling” and Ms. Egan added: “He said he always had faith in the Irish legal system. He thanked his legal team and said he was an Irish citizen and after more than five years in jail was looking forward to moving on with his life here.”
In refusing to order Mr Damache’s surrender, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly, said there were “substantial grounds for believing that Mr. Damache will be at real risk of being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment if extradited to the USA.”
Appeal by the Attorney General of Ireland
The Attorney General appealed the High Court’s refusal to surrender Damache and the appeal was listed for mention in the Court of Appeal in mid-December 2015. However, counsel for Damache, Mark Lynam BL, told the Court of Appeal that his client had been arrested in Barcelona on foot of an “international alert” and he was due in court in Madrid earlier in the day – despite his statement a few months earlier after his release that he just wanted to get on with his life in Ireland.
Spain Approve US Extradition Request
On the 27th February 2016, Spain approved the request from the US to extradite the alleged jihadist. They cited a belief that he was to have conspired with a woman known as “Jihad Jane,” to recruit people to carry out terror attacks in Europe and Asia.
The Spanish reached this decision after less than three months. In Ireland the process was ongoing for more than five years before Damache decided to take himself off to Barcelona during his latest set of proceedings in the Irish courts.
Police in Spain were alerted to his presence in the Spanish city as a result of a telephone tip-off to the country’s emergency 112 number, Spanish media reported.
A Rookie Error by La Bandera Negra
The roughly translated statement by The Minister of Interior of the Generalitat de Catalunya explains the details of the arrest of Damache and was carried on a video statement in El Mundo:
“A rookie mistake, unbecoming of an international fugitive, on Thursday allowed the Catalan police arrest in Barcelona Damache Charef Ali, an alleged jihadist claimed since 2011 by the US and Interpol. The suspect himself registered with his real name and provided documentation in one of the hostels in the city where he was “hiding” for a week.
According to sources familiar with the case, that was the unexpected error that allowed his name to blow up alerts after cross-referencing the files received daily from the Mossos d’Esquadra hotel complexes customers against Interpol reports.
From that time agents began tracking to confirm that it was Damache. They confirmed his identity and the validity of the search warrant and an international arrest warrant on him. The agents then proceeded to arrest him on Avinguda Meridiana.
That same night he was taken to the Civil Guard barracks in Sant Andreu de la Barca and then taken to the National Court in Madrid, where he remained imprisoned pending the extradition order to the United States for providing false documentation to members of Al Qaeda.
The dual Algerian and Irish national and known as The Black Flag [La Bandera Negra] is Damache who is accused of being part the al-Qaeda recruitment apparatus in the Islamic Maghreb. The Minister of Interior, Jordi Jané, said yesterday at a press conference that the US accuses Damache of having tried to form between 2009 and 2010, five terrorist cells designed to organize attacks across Europe and elsewhere.
One of these cells, said the minister, was be dedicated to three missions for Al-Qaeda namely providing logistics, funding and recruitment. Damache was also part of the terrorist cell command that attempted to organize, with Colleen LaRose (Jihad Jane) the murder of Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.”
The Spanish government ruled in favor of granting the US extradition case and if Damache is found guilty, he could face up to 45 years in prison. The cornerstone of the Damache’s Irish defence teams argument not to extradite Damache to the US was that if convicted in the US Damache could face up to 45 years in jail, a term his lawyers said would be “a lot more” than could be imposed in Ireland.
The High Court had also heard from Damache’s lawyers that convictions for terrorism crimes were claimed to be sufficient reason for transfer to the maximum security ADX Supermax Prison in Florence, Colorado, where prisoners can be held in solitary confinement for up to 22 hours a day and where conditions were described by a former warden as a “clean version of hell”.
Spain it would appear did not hold the same concerns.
Spurious Appeals, Vexatious Litigation & Avoidance of the SCC
As well as the criminal cases against Damache in 2010 and the US extradition hearings, Damache’s Irish legal team issued a blizzard of appeals and litigation during their six year tenure. All of which was on the Irish tax payers dime.
In Ireland, there is a cosy industry of highly paid lawyers – solicitors and barristers – living off the hard pressed Irish public. Do not dare to question their motives or you will be accused of being opposed to allowing the proper defence of individuals accused of a crime or denying the civil liberties and basic human rights of defendants.
Such objections do not, it would seem, apply though to the highly dubious activities of the Special Criminal Court through which none of these jihadi accused seem to pass. That kangaroo court seems exclusively to favour rail-roading alleged home grown terrorists and so-called gangland members.
The Special Criminal Court in Ireland has been criticised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Amnesty International and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, for its procedures and for being a special court, which ordinarily should not be used against civilians.
Among the criticisms are the lack of a jury, and the increasing use of the court to try organised “ordinary” crimes rather than the terrorist cases it was originally set up to handle. Critics also argue that the court is now obsolete since there is no longer a serious terrorist threat to the State.
Under the law, the court is authorised to accept the opinion of a Garda Síochána chief-superintendent as evidence that a suspect is a member of an illegal organisation.
It was also recently, cynically and quite illegally used in General Election 2016 to damage the electoral prospects of Sinn Fein with the hugely “coincidental” timing of the Thomas Murphy case and the glee with which the Denis O’Brien dominated Irish media saturation reported on the case side by side with swipes at Sinn Fein.
Appeals, Judicial Reviews & the Usual Interventions from Meddlesome Externals
Not including interventions by The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Damache’s team took his case all the way to The Supreme Court of Ireland and engaged in no less than three separate Judicial Reviews prompting appeals and counter proceedings from the Attorney General of Ireland.
The cases and the rulings are available on An tSeirbhis Chuirteanna (The Courts Service of Ireland) website:
1. Damache -v- Director of Public Prosecutions & ors 13/05/2011
THE HIGH COURT JUDICIAL REVIEW 2010 1501 JR
2. Damache -v- Director of Public Prosecutions 23/02/2012
THE SUPREME COURT [Appeal No: 253/2011] Denham C.J. Murray J. Hardiman J. Fennelly J. Finnegan J.
3. Damache -v- Director of Public Prosecutions & ors 31/01/2014
THE HIGH COURT JUDICIAL REVIEW Record No: 2013/670 J.R.
4. Damache -v- Director of Public Prosecutions & ors 28/02/2014
THE HIGH COURT JUDICIAL REVIEW Record No: 2014/112 J.R.
5. Attorney General -v- Damache 21/05/2015
THE HIGH COURT [2013 No. 51 EXT.] IN THE MATTER OF THE EXTRADITION ACT 1965 AS AMENDED
Appeal of Original Sentence after Guilty Plea
The Irish lawyers for Damache also told the Court of Appeal last year (2015) that despite their clients guilty plea that they intended on his behalf to appeal the sentence imposed on him in Waterford Circuit Criminal Court for sending the menacing message to Majed Moughni.
Following the High Court’s refusal to order his surrender to the US on foot of the extradition request, Damache, who had been in custody up until that point, was discharged and walked out of the High Court on the afternoon of the 21st May 2015.
“Not Permitted to Practice his Religion”
Damache’s legal team also attempted to sue several Irish institutions claiming that he was not permitted to practice his Muslim religion while being held in a Cork prison in 2011. On his behalf they brought proceedings against the governor of Cork Prison, the Irish Prison Services, the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General.
They claimed he was subjected to abuse and insults from both staff and inmates at Cork Prison and was prevented from practicing his religion. He further accused the prison of having alleged Guantanamo-like conditions of detention and abuse as opposed to say – the luxurious conditions of prisons in his country of birth – Algeria.
His testimony stated “The conditions of Muslims are similar to the conditions of the native South Africans at the time of the Apartheid regime. This is how I can describe the conditions of the Muslims in Irish prisons” – Ali Charaf Damache (aka Abu Nabil).
In a letter sent from Cork Prison in 2011, Ali Charaf Damache described his treatment, explaining that Muslims’ “religious human rights (were) purposely violated”. Besides being deprived of halal meat as well as not being granted access to an imam for religious counselling and assistance, he reported incidents where the Qu’ran was desecrated.
Support from Trinity College Dublin Academics
His complaints were highlighted by Muslim Ireland, a site dedicated to news and opinion on matters concerning Muslims in the Republic of Ireland. Started in April 2012, the forum was administered by Craig Considine, PhD. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin. It seems to have discontinued its activities in 2014.
Of course Trinity College Dublin is also the stomping ground for the “good Dr.” Ali Selim – Muslim Brotherhood Mouthpiece & Arrogant Pedant who is a lecturer in Arabic at the university and a senior member of staff at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (by his own words on his LinkedIn profile).
The Latest “Jihadi” Running Rings Round the Irish Legal System
This unnamed man is fighting an attempt to deport him after the Irish State claimed that he was involved with Islamic terrorists. The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons (know one really knows why this anonymity was granted) has been living in Ireland with his family since 2000.
The fact is that his family do not in fact live with him in Ireland. His Irish born son – the basis of his residency visa – has been living overseas with his mother for the last number of years. He coincidentally returned to Ireland after his fathers residency visa was refused.
The man is supported by his Irish Muslim convert buddy Khalid Kelly who in 2014 on an FM104 phone show expressed support for the Islamic State. Over the course of a subsequent interview Mr. Kelly suggested that Irish peacekeeping troops serving in the Golan Heights should join ISIS militants. He claimed that “then they would be on the right side”.
He also claimed during the broadcast that journalists who were beheaded by the militants were ‘spies’. Kelly was arrested by Gardai in 2011 for making threats against the life of US President Barack Obama. He has previously said his ‘heart feels comforted’ every time he watches footage of the 9/11 attacks.
Resident, Refugee or Asylum Seeker – Which One Would Sir Like?
The unnamed jihadi accused has brought proceedings arising out of a decision taken by the authorities last year not to renew his residency permit. He was then informed that the State wanted to deport him to Jordan. He does not want this as he fears that he will be tortured because of his political activities.
He secured residency in Ireland in 2000 because his son is an Irish citizen (born in Ireland). However his residency permit was not renewed over a year ago because his son had been living overseas. He applied for asylum which the Minister for Justice and Equality refused to make a decision on.
He denies claims that he has consulted with senior violent extremist leaders outside Ireland, made travel arrangements for, and is involved in recruiting members for the Islamic extremist group ISIS. He also denies claims that he has acted on behalf of ISIS or that he represents a threat to national security.
He seeks an order compelling the Minister for Justice and Equality to accept his application for asylum as well as a declaration that he is entitled to apply for refugee status without needing the Minister’s consent. He wants the decision to deport him set aside.
“ISIS Recruiter” Lodges Injunctions, Appeals & Bemoans Human Rights Abuses
(Informed mainly from an article in the Independent)
The hearing opened before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys with the Minister opposing the application on grounds including that it is an abuse of process. The matter was previously before the court when the man obtained a temporary injunction in preventing his deportation.
On December 28 last (2015), the State had that injunction set aside by the High Court on the basis the man represented a risk to national security and is “the foremost organiser and facilitator of travel by extremists prepared to undertake violent action on behalf of ISIS and the “main recruiter” in Ireland for ISIS”. The man had been told he must leave the Irish State before December 30 and, failing to do that, must report to the Garda National Immigration Bureau by January 5 for deportation.
That decision was appealed to the Court of Appeal. As the appeal hearing before Mr Justice Michael Peart, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahan was drawing to a close in late December 2015 Remy Farrell SC, who appeared with barrister Anna Courtney for the State, asked the court to rise briefly so the parties could consider a significant development in the proceedings.
There was apparently an intervention by the European Court of Human Rights. It asked the State not to deport the man until his legal proceedings challenging the planned deportation are concluded. The State agreed to the request.
Following the adjournment Mr Farrell said the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights had made a temporary order preventing the deportation of the man from Ireland where he has resided for the last 15 years. That order will stay in place until deportation proceedings have concluded.
Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Prohibiting Torture
The European Court’s injunction, Mr Farrell said, “changed the landscape” of the matter before the court. He asked the court to continue to hear the case and give judgment later. Michael Lynn SC, who appeared with barrister David Leonard and Conor O’Briain solicitors for the man, said the application to the European Court had been made by the deportee because there was no automatic stay on a deportation order in Irish law whenever an issue under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, prohibiting torture, is raised in a case.
He said the man’s legal team had made the application to Europe for an interim order but had not believed a decision would have been made so soon. After hearing the conclusion of submissions from both parties the court adjourned.
Ignoring Intelligence & Common Sense
A senior Department of Justice official had told the High Court earlier in proceedings, based on intelligence amassed by Gardai and their counterparts in other jurisdictions, that the Irish State believed the man was consulted by and gave directions to senior violent extremist leaders outside of Ireland.
Yet the case continues and this mans anonymity is guaranteed by the Irish authorities.
Reference & Sources
The Irish Times
The Irish Mirror
The Daily Star
The Belfast Telegraph
The Washington Post