Cardinal compares Islamic State to IRA: 'They are not real Muslims, just as IRA claimed to be Catholic'
A Cardinal in the US has compared Islamic State to the IRA - saying militants terrorising the Middle East are a distortion of “genuine” Islam, just as the Irish Republican Army was a “perversion” of Catholicism.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, drew the parallel in an interview with CNN.
"Remember 30, 35, 40 years ago with the IRA in Ireland? The IRA claimed to be Catholic. And they were baptized; they had a Catholic identity. What they were doing was a perversion of everything the church stood for," he said.
"And to their immense credit the bishops of Ireland, every time the IRA blew up a car or a house or a barracks to the British Army, the Irish bishops would say 'they are not Catholic'.
"The analogy I think is somewhat accurate. These are not pure, these are not real Muslims."
Cardinal Dolan's views are in line with President Barack Obama, who last month said religion was not responsible for terrorism and radical groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State had warped Islam into twisted ideologies.
“We must never accept the premise that they put forward because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders -- they're terrorists,” Obama said in remarks at the three-day summit. His words were followed by applause. "And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with the people who have perverted Islam."
The DUP’s David Simpson today backed the Cardinal's comments, saying the only difference between the barbarism perpetrated by Islamic State and the IRA’s actions in isolated rural communities along the Irish border is one of scale.
"When republican gunmen opened fire through a closed door into a church in Darkley their victims were selected because of their religion. Loyalists too selected victims at random for sectarian murder, and sometimes in the most brutal fashion.
"The only difference between these and IS is that Islamic State terrorists now choose to broadcast their actions to the world via the internet."
The Upper Bann MP added: "Some people in Northern Ireland are uncomfortable when a light is shone on their very similar actions during the Troubles. They seek to justify their brutal crimes by saying it was for an honourable cause. This is complete folly. Terrorism of any hue was never justified.
"Many of those who were involved in terrorism in Northern Ireland are deeply uncomfortable with parallels being drawn. Such comparisons make it more difficult for them to rewrite the past and cleanse their conscience. There can be no explanation for how the murder of the last Protestant shopkeeper in Rosslea brought a united Ireland any closer.
"Others have actually attempted to justify their actions. The murder of two innocent Catholic men on their way to work did not prevent a united Ireland. Those who try to justify such actions only highlight a level of self-delusion, which again has parallels across different terrorist groups.
"The dissident republicans of 2015 are no different to the terrorists of 1975. That is why it so important to guard against attempts by some to rewrite what has happened here in Northern Ireland."
Belfast Telegraph Digital