A leading Muslim figure has called for hate crime legislation after Islamophobic graffiti was sprayed at a park and a bus stop in Tallaght, south Dublin.
Gardaí said they were taking the matter seriously and are conducting an investigation.
The graffiti, saying “Fuck Islam”, was sprayed in multiple locations at Sean Walsh Memorial Park, as well as at bus stops near The Square shopping centre over Sunday night. It was reported online by the Tallaght Echo newspaper.
South Dublin County Council yesterday said it had removed up to 15 items of graffiti.
Ali Selim, a theologian and senior member of the Islamic Cultural Centre, said people rang him on Monday morning about it.
“Some Muslims contacted me and said they had seen the graffiti,” said Dr Selim. “They found it very offensive and it really upset them.”
He said he believed this was an “individual incident” and that it was “not a common trend” in Ireland.
“The person who acted in this way is ignorant about the situation in Ireland,” said Dr Selim. “But while this person is ignorant, he is not the only one to blame.”
He said that people in the media need to reflect on how they are reporting on terrorism and Islam.
“Stereotyping is not fair, it divides and broadens the base of confrontation,” said Dr Selim.
He said he had always paid tribute to how gardaí handle racist incidents.
“Gardaí do not tolerate racism of this nature; they act promptly,” he said.
“Ireland should have hate crime legislation. If we had it, if an individual thinks in this way, he will at least think twice.
“Imagine if this person was writing this and a Muslim person was passing, and one got angry? You might have a different story.”