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Mosque in Galway targeted after London attack

Imam Ibrahim Noonan at Masjid Maryam mosque in Galway
Andrew Madden

A MOSQUE in Galway was targeted on Monday night in the wake of the London terror attack.

Dozens of worshippers were gathered inside the Masjid Maryam mosque when a rock was thrown through a window at its entrance.

The attack on Old Monivea Road happened shortly after 11pm when prayers to mark Ramadan were taking place.

Two men, in their late teens or early 20s, were seen running away. Gardaí are examining CCTV footage.

Leaders and members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim mosque in Galway are well known in the area for their work with other organisations to promote secular education and tolerance.

The leader of the community, Imam Ibrahim Noonan, said he was considering asking some women and children to stay away from the mosque for a few days for safety reasons.

"Everyone was quite shaken, including myself, and quite upset that it happened while we were praying, especially the ladies and children," he said.

"It's a kind of realisation - we all linked this to what happened in London."

The imam, who was born in Waterford, raised Catholic and converted to Islam 26 years ago, added that he was committed to rooting out extremism in Ireland.

"This is my country. I'm not going to allow these people to get seeded into this country," he said.

Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland, which works with the Muslim community in Galway, condemned the attack.

"The attack on our friends in the Ahmadi Muslim mosque in Galway yesterday evening was both immoral and senseless," he said.

"It was immoral because it was an attack on innocent people, and on the principle of freedom of religion and belief."

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