Devout Catholics spreading fear, mistrust of migrants and Muslims

A bishop has spoken out about Catholics who identify as “faith-filled” while spreading fear and mistrust of immigrants, particularly Muslims.

Irish Bishop Kevin Doran says he has come across people – some of whom classify themselves as traditional Catholics and faith-filled people – who say “oh well, these Muslims are putting our civilisation at risk and they pose a threat to us”.

He said there’s an “implication” that because people are Muslim they are more likely to be terrorists.

Doran’s comments were made in the wake of what he described as a “savage attack” on the two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March, that left 50 people dead.

“All of us, of whatever religious tradition, can identify with what that might mean for a congregation gathered to worship,” he said.

Doran said it was wrong of people to demonise Muslims for the actions of terrorism that claims to be inspired by Islam.

“To define a whole category of people, or a whole nation, or a whole religious group as being in some way more prone to terrorism than any other group is irresponsible,” he said.

Doran said in his experience, Muslim people living in Irish society do so “peacefully and participate fully”.

“We have large numbers of Muslim children in our Catholic schools, and they contribute to the ethos in many ways.

“One of the interesting things about Muslims is that, while they are of a different faith, they tend to have a level of commitment to faith that in many ways we might well sit up and pay attention to,” he noted.

In February, Doran spoke out after a disused hotel that had been going to house refugees was damaged. The house had been burned in an apparent arson attack.

Not only had the alleged arson caused “significant upset to parishioners,” Doran said it was “all the more disturbing since it is suggested that the fires are a response to the proposed use of the hotel to house refugees.”

“Militant opposition, expressed in the destruction of property, is simply not consistent with the Gospel,” he said.


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