Michael Peter Noonan aka Ibrahim Noonan is a terrible Mullah of Ahmadiyya INC. He lies on behalf of Ahmadiyya every single day.
Link to the older interview
Muslims in Galway: Jane Kelly meets Imam Ibrahim and hears how a good Catholic boy came to be a Muslim missionary seeking to convert Ireland to Islam
Posted by Jane Kelly
Michael Peter Noonan was born as one of seven children into a lower middle class Irish catholic family. He wanted to become a priest as a teenager. After losing his Catholic faith he became a night-club bouncer and body guard in London. Now he is Imam Ibrahim and wants to convert Ireland to Islam. Jane Kelly hears his story.
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.When I first visited Galway, in 1989, there were only three Muslims there. Dr Tasleem Amhed and Arshad Rashid had just arrived from Pakistan to start an Irish Jihad, a word then largely unknown in the west. They bought a five bedroomed house on a wind-blasted estate, and lived there with Rashid’s wife Zahide, who was hidden from Tasleem’s eyes behind a purdah curtain.
When Tasleem told me that it would be easy for him to convert the Irish to Islam I laughed like a banshee, picturing future renditions of “When Islamic Eyes are Smiling”, “Does Your Mother Come From Mecca?” and “Seven Sober Nights”.
But we’ve all drunk a lot of mineral water since then. Muslims have arrived en masse in Ireland, their leaders have grasped the proselytising power of TV, and astonishingly Islam is now seen by many as a viable replacement for 1500 years of Christian civilisation.
Ibrahim, 40, chatted to me recently in the same house over tea and delicious cakes made by his wife Qanita, 35, who lives behind the same curtain, now getting thin with age. In the background, MDM, a 24 hour Islamic TV channel shows an ancient white robed cleric preaching, and the room is full of box files, religious books, computer, photocopier and printer; all the paraphernalia of a modern missionary.
Ibrahim began life in simpler times as one of seven children in a lower middle-class family. His father Dennis was a builder, his mother Irene a hairdresser. Aged 12 he joined the Legion of Mary, practicing prayer and good works in the community. He did well academically and represented his school in athletics. At 18 he won a scholarship to Maynooth, Ireland’s most prestigious seminary, but in his late teens he changed his mind about becoming a priest. He says:
I worried about celibacy and questioned the divinity of Jesus.
He found the Church neither sacred nor practical enough.Having upset his family, he headed for London and to support himself, like the notorious Abu Hamsa, he worked as a night-club bouncer and body guard. During the day he protected the likes of the Sultan of Brunei and the Arsenal football team. At night he was a bouncer at Equinox, a flesh-pot on Leicester Square. He says:
I used to escort the models like Caprice and Elle McPherson into the VIP room. It was my job to stay with them.I saw people snorting cocaine and having sex. There were “Page Three” models who would do certain things – I won’t say what. There were wet t-shirt contests, and a lot of frolicking. I saw prostitutes, people trying to spike girls’ drinks and giving out ecstasy tablets. The bands I looked after were often high on heroin, they took it in front of me, they were so stupid and arrogant.
It was a dangerous and degrading job, dealing with people on drugs, out of control, not concerned about morals or God.
But it was his encounter with Barry Manilow which, perhaps understandably, finally pushed him into the arms of Allah. Ibrahim says:
I’d been a fan of his, but when I met him, perhaps he was having a bad day, but I found him bossy, arrogant and rude. I didn’t like the way he spoke to his co-stars in his show. I was very unhappy after that, he seemed to sum up the disappointment I felt about life and I decided to make a decision.
Islam with its authoritarian structure and dearth of fashionable crooners, was on offer and in 1995 he converted. For this sense of redemption and belonging, he was prepared to change everything. He had a house in Lewisham, a working wife and two small sons. Ibrahim says:
My interest in Islam destroyed the marriage. She liked night-clubs and the western way of life. I felt that I had normalised my life by becoming a Muslim, to me the Koran seemed rational, but she couldn’t see it. She refused to wear a veil or change her habits.
Three years ago, after learning Arabic, he returned to Ireland and agreed to marry a Pakistani he’d never met. She was chosen by the old man sermonising on the TV behind us. He says dispassionately, his mind fully focussed on his mission:
I trusted him and I trusted God. She’s a good wife and given me children.
Of his mission he says:
It will happen. Mohammed was told by God that Islam would rise in the West. I just need a small nucleus of Irish converts and they will bring other people in.
But did Mohammed mean as far west as Galway? While he talks two American Mormon missionaries who’ve come to the door also looking for converts, are invited in. Dressed in identical black anoraks they sit on the sofa smiling blankly. Beverages become an issue as they not only eschew alcohol like him, but can’t drink coffee or tea either. Sipping water, they nod at everything he says.The Mormons have 90 missionaries on the streets and made 125 converts in Galway last year, Ibrahim made two: Anna, 31, a Finn researching “holistic science”, and Christopher, now Yusuf Pender, 24, who studies film.
Yusuf discovered Islam through MDM, but is also bitterly disillusioned with Catholicism. He says in disgust:
It was dead even before the sex scandals, it’s about politics and power not spirituality.
His younger brother, Thomas, 22, is also thinking about converting.According to Galway Diocesan statistics, 95% of the population still have their babies baptised, but sitting among the Mormons and the Muslims I feel I have entered a new age of globalised Puritanism.
For these people the liberal agenda of their parents has failed, and Catholicism as it slackens its rigidities is not enough – they prefer the community of faith that howls at Ibrahim in the street.
Jane Kelly worked as a full time staff feature writer for the Daily Mail for 15 years, but she now lives as a freelance journalist and painter in west London. She is chiefly interested in writing about unusual, usually unpopular people.