by Michael McGrath

There’s a grain of truth in every religion and this applies to Islam as well as the others whether they be Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Druidry, or Jainism.
However all religions, including Islam, are supposed to stand for Justice, for a grand tolerance, understanding and even compassion.
Therefore do you put in an enormous building like the mosque on top of a whole group of residents against their will? I heard Eugene McGuinness ask the Imam this very question – and there was no reply from the holy man.
Eugene repeatedly asked Imam Ibrahim Ndure, “Are you insistent on putting this building in on top of 99% of residents who will suffer the consequences from it, who will be locked into our houses because of it and who don’t want it”

I thought that this was the central question of the entire project – and it still remains unanswered to this day, while all the media, especially KCLR, choose to deliberately ignore it, and indeed to keep McGuinness effectively banned. And that’s not the Kilkenny I grew up in where we had high standards of social justice and good behaviour toward one another.

Whatever religion we are, or none at all, if we don’t live our lives to the highest standards then the dogs in the street are better than us!  And if we don’t practice the highest standards then our deeds will eventually be disastrous and so too this mosque condemned to failure and even catastrophe – because all of the local people don’t want it, they feel it to be a huge imposition on their lives, especially in the matter of traffic gridlock that even now keeps them and their cars hemmed into their homes. How much worse will it be, they wonder miserably.

Is that a way to treat our fellow Kilkenny citizens, our good neighbours across John’s bridge? What will happen when the day comes into the future when we on this side of the city, or out in the county, need the support of the people of St. John’s, will they be as forthcoming then? I think not.

Therefore, does the Spirit move the Imam, does it move the Kilkenny Islamic Council, does it move the Council planners, all of whom move to deliberately deny thousands of people the lives they are entitled to enjoy, just like the rest of us?

In particular I ask genuine liberals in Kilkenny today to weigh up this situation in all conscience on the scale of right or wrong. Of course all the 700 + Muslims come amongst us in this city need their house of prayer, most of them at any rate that I have been talking too want the mosque.

But there are other locations and there always have been – where the present mosque is on the Freshford Road, for instance, or along the Ring Road where we can slap up big buildings that will not interfere with anybody’s lives like the present proposal will affect the thousands around Hebron day in, day out for the rest of their lives.

This is what Eugene McGuinness and his people over there at Hebron are struggling for, their own ordinary everyday existence that they have now  as I write. They must have tolerance, understanding and above all Justice too!The Mosque - A Grain of Truth


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