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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 2 April, 2020

'No we are not Isis, no we don't want to kill people, and no we don't want to take over'

Adam Sabbagh speaks about a new documentary about immigration in Ireland.

Source: RTÉ2/YouTube

THAT CLIP, FROM RTÉ’s I Am Immigrant documentary shows young Dublin Muslim Adam Sabbagh engaging in the approach he takes to try and dispel misconceptions about his community.

The approach, he says, is about being open with people who are curious about Islam and not bothering people who aren’t interested.

The clip shows one man being initially hostile towards Sabbagh and what he felt is a desire by Muslim people to convert people in western society.

After a few minutes talking, the man realised that actually meeting a Muslim person is sometimes all that’s required to have your fears eased.

It’s something that Sabbagh himself realises, telling that he thinks people are reactionary by nature.

He says that most of the time when people get angry towards Muslims, it’s usually just a reaction to the actions of people who don’t represent the wider community.

Obviously he saw something on the news, which he reacted to, and then after speaking to me he realised that that’s not how they all are. So I’m hoping that after I spoke to him he’ll have a different perception. That’s the whole idea behind why we’re doing what we’re doing.

“When you have 99% of the community being decent hard-working people and when you have 1% that are basically psychopaths, you’re stuck in a conversation saying that that’s not 99% of the community.”

Being born and raised in Dublin to Syrian parents, Sabbagh notes the irony of being part of a documentary called I Am Immigrant.

The programme features four other people of differing immigrant backgrounds and follows the challenges they face dealing with race issues.

Source: RTÉ2/YouTube

In a decision that has sparked some controversy, Peter O’Loughlin of Identity Ireland and Pegida Ireland is also featured in the programme.

A Pegida anti-Islam demonstration in Dublin last month turned violent when counter-protesters clashed with gardaí. The scenes mirrored others elsewhere in Europe when anti-Islam protesters and anti-racism protesters faced off.

The documentary features footage of that protest and also of O’Loughlin being attacked while on a Luas tram in Dublin.

Sabbagh was there that day. He says he wasn’t happy to see things getting physical but was proud to see the number of people there to defend Irish Muslims.

I was very happy to see that the majority of Irish people were against it and I felt very proud that day when my fellow Irish citizens were standing and saying we don’t support this.

Source: RTÉ2/YouTube

On Pegida themselves, Sabbagh finds their views to be ‘illogical’:

I was a bit irritated with the idea of this group, I think it’s ridiculous to ask people to leave because they have a certain faith.
You could have people that are four generations Irish, then they make a statement that brings them to Islam, are you going to ask them to leave the country? It’s just illogical.

I Am Immigrant, is broadcast tonight on RTÉ2 at 9.30pm 

Read: Watch Ted Cruz describe how he will deport illegal Irish immigrants from the US >

Read: Teacher takes legal action over parent-teacher meeting on St Patrick’s Day >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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