British Muslim speaker and blogger Adam Deen came to DCU before Christmas to give talks on miracles in the Qu'ran and on The God Delusion. I caught up with him in DCU's Helix Cafe and in a lengthy discussion, I asked what Irish Muslims could do to better integrate themselves in to Irish society:
“Irish Muslims need to be more politically involved. They need to have their hands in all the institutions because what happened with Britain, for example, is that they were too complacent and they were too interested in having their day-to-day lives and just carrying on. When a tragic event like 7/7 happened, they were not prepared to defend themselves against claims made by people. Now they’re putting out fires, where before they could have painted a more positive picture of Islam. All that we’re doing now is defending, defending, defending and we’re not doing a very good job of that either. What Muslims can Ireland can learn from the UK is to keep politically involved. They’ve got to learn from our mistakes. "
Mr Deen also spoke of the need for Muslims to distinguish themselves from the more radical elements of their faith;
"We also have idiots going out and putting fuel on the fire. Muslims need to ostracise these people."
Finally, I asked Mr Deen about the distinct lack of Irish Muslims in politics. He quickly interjected, saying;
"I’m very against this idea of people being just being a “Muslim candidate”. Muslims need to pull in votes from outside their own community."
Many thanks to Ms. Khaula Bhutta and the DCU Islamic Society for allowing me the time to interview Adam Deen.