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|Many Protest Racist Murder Of Nigerian Teen by Ayemokhia: 8:20pm On Apr 13, 2010|
Over 2000 people on Saturday, April 10 in Dublin marched in protest of the racist murder of a Nigerian teen. Dublin is the largest city and capital of Ireland. The march was peaceful with a large number of police presence. Toyosi Shittabey, a Muslim 15-year-old boy of Nigerian decent was on Friday, April 2 this year stabbed to death in Dublin, in what many described as racial attack. The teenager was found lying on the street, near his home, at Mount Eustace in Tyrelstown at about 2000 BST on the fateful day. He was rushed to the hospital and died short time later. Many condemned the attack, describing it as racially motivated. A Dublin teenager, Patrick Kabangu, was reported as saying: “Racism is hiding everywhere. It is in the schools. Everywhere in Ireland is racist, it is just being hidden. This country is crazy.” Another resident in a Dublin Sunday Tribune report said: “It was a racist attack. He was a lovely happy-go-lucky boy.” Two men aged 23 and 38 were arrested as suspects. The Garda (Irish Police) in a press statement said an official from its Racial and Intercultural Office was working in the city amid concerns about tensions.
Shittabey, is one of six children who migrated to Ireland with their parents 11 years ago. The 15-year-old, a talented footballer who played for Shelbourne’s youth team, was walking home from the National Aquatic Centre in company of friends when they were subjected to racial name calling by two men in the Mount Eustace estate. Words were exchanged between the two groups with Shittabey’s group walking away from the scene. The duo ran into their nearby home and picked up knives with which they went after Shittabey’s group in a car. The 15-year-old told his friends to ignore the stalkers and as they walked away, Shittabey was stabbed on the chest by one of the men.
A very reliable source identified one of the assailants as Paul Barry, 38, a resident of an undisclosed address on Pearse Street in Dublin. Paul Barry according to the source, was in 2001 when he was 29, charged under Section 2 of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, after a stabbing incident on Pearse Street the previous year. Barry who was unemployed at that time was charged along three other men - Paul Fitzpatrick (20), David Colclough (29), and Darren Kenny (31). The four, charged under Section 2 of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act were accused of using the word ‘nigger’ and ‘niggers’ during an attack, June 11, 2000 on David Richardson, 46, and his son Christian, 25, on Pearse Street.
The march in memory of Toyosi Shittabey was organized against calls for its abandonment by Nigerian Muslim community leaders who argued it may spin out of control. In addition, some of the religious leaders saw it as too political. The march which began at Parnell Square, ending at the Irish Parliament, was led by a sizeable contingent of mainly black teenagers. “Never Again” they chanted as they marched with different worded placards.
The march which mobilized a faction of Dublin black population, and both human rights and anti-racist groups, was unquantifiable display of solidarity. Different speakers drawn mainly from political parties spoke at the end of the march. Ciaran Cuffe, Green Party junior minister spoke condemning the attack in its totality.
Other speakers included Socialist MEP Joe Higgins, trade union representative Jack O’Connor of SIPTU, members of the African community and Shittabey’s cousin Abisoye Shittabey. Toyosi’s cousin after her speech, read a poem she wrote for the commemoration, which read: “God wanted a football player for his team in heaven. He looked down and say Toyosi Shittabey.” The crowd concurred: “So God took him by the hand . . . You are safe where you are . . . in God’s care.” Jack O’Connor spoke of the need for unity and solidarity in the wake of Shittabey’s death. “No one should attempt, on the basis of this tragic event, to promote division or disharmony on the basis of where someone lives or comes from,” he said.
When the march reached government buildings, it was addressed by Minister of State, Ciaran Cuffe. Cuffe in his speech said that the Minister for Integration should work closely with the Department of Justice to make sure those who murdered Shittabey faced penalties they deserve under the law. He continued: “There is no black Ireland or white Ireland, there is one Ireland. There is no old Ireland and new Ireland, there is one Ireland.”
When the march reached government buildings, it was addressed by Minister of State, Ciaran Cuffe. Cuffe in his speech said that the Minister for Integration should work closely with the Department of Justice to make sure those who murdered Shittabey faced penalties they deserve under the law. He continued: “There is no black Ireland or white Ireland, there is one Ireland. There is no old Ireland and new Ireland, there is one Ireland.
Shittabey was given a Muslim burial Thursday, April 8 after view of his body in a coffin at a Lucan funeral home. Many filed past his body in the funeral home, after the traditional Muslim washing and shrouding ceremony took place. Shittabey’s heartbroken father Segun and his brothers Sodiq, 22, and Tunde, 12, looked on as mourners paid their last respect.
The body was conveyed in a hearse, in a long funeral procession with a Garda escort, to Newcastle Cemetery in Dublin for internment. Mourners wept as the coffin was brought out of the hearse and laid on the ground. The lid was opened and the shrouded body removed amid loud wailing, weeping and calls to Allah. Nigerian Imam Shehu Adetola Adeniji from Dublin’s Sheriff Street Mosque led a short prayer. It was then lowered into the grave to the waiting arms of two imams, thence onto wooden slabs, where the 15-year-old was laid to rest on his right side facing east. Shittabey’s brothers Sodiq and Tunde, were the first to throw clay over their sibling’s grave before it was covered with earth.
As mourners chanted and cried out Shittabey’s name, Imam Adeniji urged them to look at the teen’s death as a lesson. “No matter how or what was the cause of his death it was destined that he was going to live just 15 years and the 15 years of his life were very glorious. It’s a lesson for everybody so we can improve our lives, be law-abiding and follow the way of God,” he said. “No amount of protest, no demonstration will bring back this boy’s soul. Your good mind is what he needs – not fighting, not crying,” Adeniji continued. Referring to the planned protest march, he said: “Demonstration is uncalled for. We do not approve of it. It is creating social unrest . . .”
Assistant Imam at Sheriff Street Mosque, Alhaj Saliu Adewunmi Adeniran speaking against a protest rally said: “It can instigate problems with teenagers and we are worried about where it might lead.”
Important dignitaries at the funeral included the Nigeria Ambassador to Ireland, Kemafo Nonyerem Chikwe and Irish Minister for Integration and Equality, Mary White. Teachers and Shittabey’s schoolmates from Hartstown Community School and representatives from Shelbourne Football Club were also in attendance.
|Re: Many Protest Racist Murder Of Nigerian Teen by Ayemokhia: 8:30pm On Apr 13, 2010|
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