An Irish judge has caused outrage after saying he thinks “Muslims feel they can actually beat their wives” during the trial of a Somali man accused of burglary at his former wife’s house.
Judge Anthony Halpin’s comments made before a packed courtroom on Thursday caused a government minister and the Immigrant Council of Ireland to say he needs to immediately clarify or withdraw the remark made during a criminal case.
The judge made the statement just days after telling Tallaght Court he was to be reassigned elsewhere, saying he “may have stepped on some toes”.
Leading Muslim imam, Dr Taufiq Al Sattar – who lost his wife and three children in a house fire in the UK last year – rejected the judge’s comments.
Junior minister Joe Costello said “on the surface it sounds insulting and gratuitous and he should immediately clarify the remarks”.
The Irish Independent understands that Judge Halpin is being transferred to the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) in Dublin. He announced that his last day would be Monday, April 14.
Judge Halpin, who started sitting in the Tallaght court in September 2011, made the comments in relation to Muslims during the case of Khadar Younis (46),of Belfry Hall in Citywest, Dublin, who had denied breaking into his divorced wife’s home while she was asleep in bed. He also pleaded not guilty to breaking a protection order and being in the possession of a knife while in the house.
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The court heard that his former wife, Kara Ibrahim, wanted to drop the case, saying Younis was a good father to their four children, but not a good husband to her.
Defence solicitor John O’Leary told the court that his client had been divorced by a Muslim cleric under the Qur’an.
Judge Halpin responded, saying: “I think Muslims feel they can actually beat their wives”.
Mr O’Leary said there was no suggestion of a physical assault and Ms Ibrahim then said that she wanted to drop the case.
Ms Ibrahim had alleged that her former husband also threatened her, telling her: “If you shout or do anything, something will happen to you”.
She had also claimed she was really scared of her ex-husband, saying he thought he could just come into her house.
The judge put the case back for six months with the intention to resume it or strike it out advising Ms Ibrahim to call the gardai if there were any more breaches.
Last night the Immigrant Council of Ireland called on the Judge to withdraw the remark.
“While we have not seen the court record the remarks as reported to us are disappointing, wrong and offensive.
“People in positions of authority in the community have a particular duty not to feed racism or xenophobia, this applies to politicians, local media commentators and members of the judiciary. The remarks should either be withdrawn or clarified as a matter of urgency,” a spokesperson said.
Junior Minister Joe Costello said the judge should clarify the remark.
“It certainly was a gratuitous statement and on the surface it sounds insulting and gratuitous and he should immediately clarify the remarks,” Mr Costello told the Herald.
Dr Taufiq Al Sattar said the comments were in contradiction to all religious teachings.
“No religion says you should hurt anybody and no religion says you should harm anybody. We all have to be tolerant. We all have to compromise
“No religion says you hurt anybody, not your wife or your neighbour or anyone. This is common sense,” the imam, who established a prayer centre in west Dublin, said.
A spokesperson for the courts service said it would not be the services place to comment on the matter.