Terrorism and Ireland – two words you often see in the one sentence. Irish Special Branch detectives were last night questioning a 44-year-old Muslim (wow, who would have seen that one coming?) from Dublin in connection with threats to kill US President Barack Obama during this month’s visit to the Republic if Ireland.
The suspect, Khalid Kelly (!!!!) who is a converted Muslim, made the alleged remarks in a Sunday newspaper article. Mr Kelly was arrested at his home in Dublin’s north inner city early yesterday and taken to a police station for questioning. He can be held in custody for up to three days without charge.
Born Terry Kelly, from the Liberties area of Dublin, he converted to Islam while serving a jail sentence in Saudi Arabia for illegally distilling and selling alcohol. He later travelled to Pakistan, where he claimed he trained with tribal warlords with the intention of going to Afghanistan.
While in Britain he associated with radicals and became a member of the now banned British group al Muhajiroun, and during several TV and newspaper appearances defended attacks on New York and London.
His arrest yesterday arose from an article published last weekend in which he allegedly said al-Qaida had chosen Ireland as a perfect place to launch an attack on Mr Obama, and that the terrorists would pay up to €1m (£0.9m) to anybody prepared to kill Mr Obama.
Like all sane people, I wish Obama a safe visit to the Republic as he pretends to be Irish in time honoured pre-election tradition. But Ireland suffers from the same problem as most other countries – namely a swamp of militant Islamists who savour the prospect of killing those they disagree with. I’m glad Mr Kelly has been arrested – but he can’t exactly be deported so what happens him? And are there others similar minded? And what happens AFTER O’bama departs?