Muslim doctor disappointed at ‘ignorance’ of firebrand pastor

First Minister Peter Robinson.

UNDER FIRE… First Minister Peter Robinson received criticism for his comments

A MUSLIM doctor who has lived in Fermanagh for the past 20 years has spoken of the ‘ignorance’ of firebrand preacher Pastor McConnell who has made international news after making controversial claims about Islam.

The story gathered momentum when First Minister Peter Robinson said that he would not trust Muslims involved in violence or those devoted to Sharia law. He added that he would ‘trust them to go to the shops’ for him.


Dr Essam Ghareeb, who works as a consultant surgeon in the South West Acute Hospital, said that he has ‘never had any issues at all’ during his time in Northern Ireland.

He was left disappointed with the comments – which were widely condemned – despite the First Minister’s clarification afterwards that he would never ‘want to insult or cause distress’ to Muslims here.

“It’s really shows ignorance of a faith, a major faith in the world, and what’s supposed to be a responsible person in the Christian faith, to say something like that,” Dr Ghareeb said.

“If you like to make a comment about religion, or a faith, you really need to read. You don’t listen to somebody who incites hatred.”

A number of racist attacks in Belfast have been linked to the furore brought about by the Pastor McConnell comments.  Dr Ghareeb described the attacks as ‘disappointing’.

“I’ve lived in Ireland for 30 years, and I’ve never really had anyone that has made a comment.

” It’s the respect of the person for who he or she is, that’s what I’ve found myself.


“But it’s completely unacceptable for people to do something like that and it is not the way I have experienced in Northern Ireland.”

He said that the ‘cheap’ comments have not been discussed much in his presence.

“Most of the people didn’t bother making a comment to me on what he said, I really didn’t discuss it that much.

“It’s not because I’m disinterested in my religion; I’m very interested in my religion, but it is too cheap to spend time on.”

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