Islam is Ireland's fastest-growing religion, with the number of Muslims recorded in the 2011 Census – 48,130 – expected to reach 100,000 by 2020. In a country where only 34pc of approximately 3.8 million Catholics attend Mass, many people are drifting away from religion. But a small number are finding that Islamic beliefs and practices, which allow for a peaceful and community-oriented life, fit their spiritual needs.Once, Ireland had a big Catholic following, but now, much like in the UK, they too may be losing touch with Christianity, and some are losing their heads over the Religion of Peace.
While more women convert than men, and most conversions are for marriage, people can have very personal reasons for converting – or reverting as it is known in the Islamic faith, in which it is believed that everyone was born Muslim.Their mistake, of course. And I feel sorry for those women who converted to a religion they're either naive about, or won't be honest about because they've embraced taqqiya.
Ireland has a thriving Muslim community. Building begins next year on what is set to be the biggest Islamic cultural centre in the country, in Clongriffin on Dublin's northside. There are mosques and dedicated primary schools in each of our cities. And unlike the situation in France, there is no policy against Muslim girls wearing the hijab (veil) to school.
They published the taqqiya-laden testimonies of 4 converts, and I'll comment on at least one of them, one whose view of "modesty" and the hijab is flawed at worst:
The one big change is wearing the hijab. I wear it because it's a sign of my devotion to God. It shows humility with my husband and with the male members of my family. For me my beauty is my hair and my body, and that's not for everyone.Well gee whiz, I knew that! But that doesn't mean a woman should conceal herself so literally under a veil and deny herself an identity and potentially risk an unhealthy situation by denying sunlight and vitamin D to her body, especially her head. She speaks of her hair and body, yet she conceals it beneath such an awful garment?!? There is a contradiction at work there. No, of course dressing skimpily isn't always a tasteful thing to do, certainly not if the people in question are underaged, but that doesn't mean they should blot out their clear facial identities either. It's very sad the woman who wrote that has no understanding of what she's doing to herself, and if only she knew of the personality many jihadists happen to maintain.
I also wear it because one part of my faith is to discuss Islam with non-Muslims. If I'm in the supermarket and someone hears my Ringsend accent, they'll ask, "Oh, how long are you here, love?" And I'll reply, "Actually, I'm Irish". It's a way of sharing your faith with people, of saying: "Don't be afraid of us – we're all human, we all come and go the one way."
I always dressed modestly. I was never comfortable with showing the figure off. We're living in a society where people feel threatened because I choose to not show my body, whereas you have girls as young as 11 or 12 looking at Rihanna. She has a video and she's barely covering her nipples and wearing ... I wouldn't even call them hot pants. And there are ladies twerking and pole-dancing. Girls are looking at that and going: "Yeah, I'm going to get a husband if I do that."
You should be valued for your soul and your personality, not because of how much flesh you show – that's private, and that's your beauty.