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Irish convert dies for Islamic State

11 November 2016


Watchful: an Iraqi special forces soldier stands in a street in Gogiali, a district of Mosul, earlier this month

Watchful: an Iraqi special forces soldier stands in a street in Gogiali, a district of Mosul, earlier this month

A LEADING Irish imam, Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, said that the death of an Irish convert to the Islamic State (IS) group, in a suicide attack near Mosul last week, probably helped to avoid a terrorist atrocity in Ireland.

Dr Al-Qadri, who is the head imam of the Islamic Centre in Ireland, said that Khalid (formerly Terence) Kelly, a some time nurse from the Liberties inner-city area of Dublin, was known for his extreme views, and deserved to be in hell because “he has probably killed innocent children”.

IS said that Kelly, who was known to it as Abu Osama Irelandi, killed dozens of troops who were advancing on Mosul. A representative of the Popular Mobilisation Units of Iraqi forces, who were his target as he drove towards them in an armoured truck loaded with explosives, denied the claim; he said that Kelly was the sole casualty when he blew himself up.

Kelly, whose last address was a rented cottage near Ardagh, in Co. Longford, was generally shunned by the Irish Muslim community because of his frequent expressions about IS, and was perceived as being a potential danger. He was visited occasionally by his wife and children at the cottage. He often went jogging, and shopped locally, but never socialised in the general community.

It is understood that the authorities monitored him while he was in Ireland. Many people were worried by his behaviour, Dr Al-Qadri said. “He was stupid enough to have done something terrible.”

The Muslim community in Ireland is small, and generally mixes well with other religious groups. It has strong leadership, which emphasises the importance of respecting Irish laws and culture. Nevertheless, it is believed that a number of young Irish Muslims have been radicalised, and have travelled to the Middle East to join extremist groups.

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