Leading Northern Ireland muslim Dr Raied Al-Wazzan of Belfast Islamic Centre has praised jihadist group Islamic State’s rule in Iraq.
IS, a radical Islamist group whose tactics include mass killings and abductions of minorities, overran the northern city of Mosul last June.
Mosul is “the most peaceful city in the world”, Dr Al-Wazzan said yesterday. “These people are less evil than the Iraqi government.”
Western governments had created the conditions for for IS by “establishing a failed state in Iraq, run by militias”, he said.
“Islamic State came to protect a section of society that had been marginalised, and foreign policy had pushed part of society to reach this point,” he told BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback.
While mainstream Islam “never supports radicalisation”, he said, it was “important to look at the facts”.
“Look at what’s happened in Mosul now – it was attacked for the last 11 years, people were murdered just because they had the wrong name and were persecuted for a long time,” he said. “Since the Islamic State took over, it has become the most peaceful city in the world. Yes there are other things going wrong there... they are murdering people, I agree, but you can go from east to west of the city without fear.
“My family is living there at the moment and that’s what they are telling me.”