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Home / News / Irish Muslim Council chair begins European election run

Irish Muslim Council chair begins European election run

Chairperson of the Irish Muslim Council Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri has launched his campaign to become an MEP for Dublin.

Dr Al-Qadri told a press conference this morning that he was running to counter the rise of “far-right extremism across Europe”.

He told reporters that he was very concerned that the values of inclusivity and tolerance were under threat in Ireland.

If elected, he said that he wants to push for reform of Ireland’s migration system, housing for all, climate action and support for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Asked if he would have supported the EU Migration Pact, approved by the European Parliament this week, Dr Al-Qadri said that he would have supported a humane and responsible response to immigration.

“We must have a balanced approach,” Dr Al-Qadri told today’s press conference.

He said that the Government had not shown the same willingness to address the housing crisis, as it had to the rise rise in immigration, and that this was leading to division in society.

Dr Al-Qadri said he had experienced a “céad míle fáilte” when he first arrived in Ireland, however he felt that this had changed in recent years.

Asked if he felt his campaign could be targeted by “far-right” agitators, Dr Al-Qadri said that he was already a focus of their attention.

“Whether you are young or old. Whether you were born here or came from another country. Whether you are gay or straight. Whether you are a Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or atheist, I welcome you all to join me in this campaign,” he said.

Dr Al-Qadri said that he had held conversations with a number of political parties but concluded that he would be most effective as an “impartial” independent candidate.

He also criticised the EU for not focusing on peace building initiatives in both the middle-east and Ukraine.

Dr Al-Qadri referred to double standards in how social media companies and traditional media outlets are regulated, arguing that further European legislation is required to ensure that social media is a safe space for everyone.

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