"Strange times in the Irish Republic. The boom years have been on for 20-odd years now, the country's becoming much more secular, immigration and asylum levels are high, the youth/dance/drug culture is widespread - it's starting to feel much more like degenerate, decadent England. I can remember 17-odd years back seeing 'Life of Brian' in Cork just after the ban on the film had been lifted. At the time it was a big deal - it wouldn't be now. While in many ways the end of Catholic Ireland is a tragedy, it also cuts down the supply of volunteers motivated by Cathleen ni Houlihan and Our Lady Queen of Ireland. "
via the SAU blog, Jane Kelly with another cracking interview illustrating the enormous change in the Republic.
When Imam Ibrahim stands in the centre of Galway in his voluminous robes preaching the message of Islam, his main problem comes from other Muslims. There are over a thousand of them, immigrants from Iraq, Libya, Saudi and Algeria in what was until recently a quiet Irish town. He says:
I get abuse. They call me a Kaffir or infidel and say I should die.
He represents a reformist sect which orthodox Muslims dislike, but they are also a bit suspicious as he is in fact Irish. Ibrahim began life as plain Michael Peter Noonan, in Waterford. He is the only home-grown Irish Imam on the planet so far, and his conversion is surely a sign of the strange times in which we live.