ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
National name: Éire
Land area: 26,598 sq mi (68,889 sq km); total area: 27,135 sq mi (70,280 sq km)
Population (2008 est.): 4,156,119 (growth rate: 1.1%); birth rate: 14.3/1000; infant mortality rate: 5.1/1000; life expectancy: 78.0; density per sq mi: 60
Capital (2003 est.): Dublin, 1,018,500
Other large cities: Cork, 193,400; Limerick, 84,900; Galway, 67,200
Monetary units: Euro (formerly Irish pound [punt])
Languages: English, Irish (Gaelic) (both official)
Ethnicity/race: Celtic, English
Religions: Roman Catholic 88%, Church of Ireland 3%, other Christian 2%, none 4%
National Holiday: Saint Patrick's Day, March 17
Literacy rate: 99% (2003 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $187.5 billion; per capita $45,600. Real growth rate: 5%. Inflation: 4.7%.
Ireland is situated in the Atlantic Ocean and separated from Great Britain by the Irish Sea. Half the size of Arkansas, it occupies the entire island except for the six counties that make up Northern Ireland. Ireland resembles a basin—a central plain rimmed with mountains, except in the Dublin region. The mountains are low, with the highest peak, Carrantuohill in County Kerry, rising to 3,415 ft (1,041 m). The principal river is the Shannon, which begins in the north-central area, flows south and southwest for about 240 mi (386 km), and empties into the Atlantic.
In the Stone and Bronze Ages, Ireland was inhabited by Picts in the north and a people called the Erainn in the south, the same stock, apparently, as in all the isles before the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain. About the 4th century B.C., tall, red-haired Celts arrived from Gaul or Galicia. They subdued and assimilated the inhabitants and established a Gaelic civilization. By the beginning of the Christian Era, Ireland was divided into five kingdoms—Ulster, Connacht, Leinster, Meath, and Munster. Saint Patrick introduced Christianity in 432, and the country developed into a center of Gaelic and Latin learning. Irish monasteries, the equivalent of universities, attracted intellectuals as well as the pious and sent out missionaries to many parts of Europe and, some believe, to North America.
Norse depredations along the coasts, starting in 795, ended in 1014 with Norse defeat at the Battle of Clontarf by forces under Brian Boru. In the 12th century, the pope gave all of Ireland to the English Crown as a papal fief. In 1171, Henry II of England was acknowledged “Lord of Ireland,” but local sectional rule continued for centuries, and English control over the whole island was not reasonably absolute until the 17th century. In the Battle of the Boyne (1690), the Catholic King James II and his French supporters were defeated by the Protestant King William III (of Orange). An era of Protestant political and economic supremacy began.
By the Act of Union (1801), Great Britain and Ireland became the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.” A steady decline in the Irish economy followed in the next decades. The population had reached 8.25 million when the great potato famine of 1846–1848 took many lives and drove more than 2 million people to immigrate to North America.
In the meantime, anti-British agitation continued along with demands for Irish home rule. The advent of World War I delayed the institution of home rule and resulted in the Easter Rebellion in Dublin (April 24–29, 1916), in which Irish nationalists unsuccessfully attempted to throw off British rule. Guerrilla warfare against British forces followed proclamation of a republic by the rebels in 1919. The Irish Free State was established as a dominion on Dec. 6, 1922, with six northern counties remaining as part of the United Kingdom. A civil war ensued between those supporting the Anglo-Irish Treaty that established the Irish Free State and those repudiating it because it led to the partitioning of the island. The Irish Republican Army (IRA), led by Eamon de Valera, fought against the partition but lost. De Valera joined the government in 1927 and became prime minister in 1932. In 1937 a new constitution changed the nation's name to Éire. Ireland remained neutral in World War II.
In 1948, De Valera was defeated by John A. Costello, who demanded final independence from Britain. The Republic of Ireland was proclaimed on April 18, 1949, and withdrew from the Commonwealth. From the 1960s onward two antagonistic currents dominated Irish politics. One sought to bind the wounds of the rebellion and civil war. The other was the effort of the outlawed Irish Republican Army and more moderate groups to bring Northern Ireland into the republic. The “troubles”—the violence and terrorist acts between Republicans and Unionists in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland—would plague the island for the remainder of the century and beyond.
Under the First Programme for Economic Expansion (1958–1963), economic protection was dismantled and foreign investment encouraged. This prosperity brought profound social and cultural changes to what had been one of the poorest and least technologically advanced countries in Europe. Ireland joined the European Economic Community (now the EU) in 1973. In the 1990 presidential election, Mary Robinson was elected the republic's first woman president. The election of a candidate with socialist and feminist sympathies was regarded as a watershed in Irish political life, reflecting the changes taking place in Irish society. Irish voters approved the Maastricht Treaty, which paved the way for the establishment of the EU, by a large majority in a referendum held in 1992. In 1993, the Irish and British governments signed a joint peace initiative (the Downing Street Declaration), which affirmed Northern Ireland's right to self-determination. A referendum on allowing divorce under certain conditions—hitherto constitutionally forbidden—was narrowly passed in Nov. 1995.
In 1998 hope for a solution to the troubles in Northern Ireland seemed palpable. A landmark settlement, the Good Friday Agreement of April 10, 1998, called for Protestants to share political power with the minority Catholics and gave the Republic of Ireland a voice in the affairs of Northern Ireland. The resounding commitment to the settlement was demonstrated in a dual referendum on May 22: the North approved the accord by a vote of 71% to 29%, and in the Irish Republic 94% favored it. After numerous stops and starts, the new government in Northern Ireland was formed on Dec. 2, 2000, but it has been suspended four times since then (and has remained suspended since Oct. 2002) primarily because of Sinn Fein's reluctance to disarm its military wing, the IRA. In 2005, however, the IRA renounced armed struggle, and peace again seemed possible.
Islamic History and Muslims
The first Islamic Society in Ireland was established in 1959. It was formed by
Muslim students studying in Ireland and was called the Dublin Islamic Society
(later called the Islamic Foundation of Ireland). At that time there was no
mosque in Dublin. The students used their homes and later rented halls for
Jum'ah (Friday) and Eid prayers. In 1969 the students began to contact their
relatives and some Islamic organizations and Muslim countries for the purpose of
collecting donations to establish a Mosque. In 1976 the first mosque and Islamic
Centre in Ireland was opened in a four story building at 7 Harrington Street,
Dublin 8. Among those who contributed to the project of the Mosque and Islamic
Centre was the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. In 1981 the Ministry of
Endowment and Islamic Affairs of Kuwait sponsored a full time Imam for the
Koran to be translated into Irish
Plans have been announced in the Irish Republic to translate the Koran, Islam's most sacred text, into Irish.
The ambitious project aims to bring Ireland's Gaelic-speakers and Muslim communities closer together, Leslie Carter of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin said. Local Muslim leaders have welcomed the move, although they say it will be a challenge to produce a reliable and accurate translation. The Islamic community is the fastest growing religious minority in Ireland, which is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. It is estimated around 18,000 Muslims live there, out of a total population of nearly four million. The Islamic Cultural Centre is working on the project with help from Foras na Gaeilige, a body set up to promote Gaelic throughout the island of Ireland.
"It's an absolutely huge job," Ms Carter admitted. "The difficult part will be getting translators, because we need people who have good Arabic and good Irish." In order to ensure that none of the meaning is lost, the aim is to translate the Koran directly from Arabic to Irish, rather than from Arabic to English and then into Irish. "That means it will take a long time but we want to keep it as true to the original as we can," Ms Carter said.
Khosrou Kheradmand of University College Dublin's Islamic
society told the Press Association that a number of people spoke both languages.
"There are many Muslims who were born here, have grown up here and who speak and
have studied Irish," he said. "This acknowledges the links between the two
cultures. It will be interesting to see how it works. Although parts of the
Koran have been translated into Gaelic, the project, if successful, will be the
first entire translation, Iman Al-Hussein, director of the Islamic Foundation of
Ireland, told PA. Under the constitution of the Irish Republic, Gaelic is an
official language. Gaelic is a compulsory school subject, but only around
100,000 are estimated to have a degree of fluency.
Islamic Centers and Organizations
Mosques in the Republic of Ireland
Dublin Mosque & Islamic Centre (ISLAMIC FOUNDATION OF IRELAND),
call 2go ,Internet cafe &international calls, Dublin
Dr. Kashab Mostafa, Dublin
A prayer room is available for muslim doctors in the (RES )roscommon
county hospital, Roscommon
Womens Group, Cork
Muslim Owned Business
Internet Cafe beside Dublin Mosque, Dublin