Cork lecturer says racism almost forced him out of country

Cork lecturer says racism almost forced him out of country

Amanullah De Sondy from Glasgow who is a senior lecturer at UCC. Picture Dan Linehan

A UCC lecturer revealed he considered leaving Cork as a result of ongoing racist abuse from complete strangers.

UCC's Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam, Amanullah De Sondy was propelled into the media spotlight back in 2019 after speaking out about an anonymous voicemail left on his office phone branding him a "scumbag and a terrorist."

Mr De Sondy was heartened by the support at the time, much of which came from then Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan. The pair had discussed hate crime legislation as well as the government's commitment to equality and diversity. Sadly, less than two years on, the UCC lecturer said that history is repeating itself.

He opened up about the effect of recent online intimidation where-in the space of 24 hours-he was subjected to several Islamaphobic slurs and told he didn't belong in Cork. Another message saw Mr De Sondy accused of being an "ungrateful immigrant." The Cork resident who grew up in Glasgow admits that he sometimes feels defeated.

"I have to go through every day being reminded of the great privilege I have and being told to go back to my own country," he said. 

"People say this is a minority but I worry about the true number of people out there who don't want to see those differences and embrace diversity."

The diversity advocate refuses to be silenced by social media trolls.

"I've met a lot of people from black and Asian minorities who say put your head down and don't say anything," he said. "I've been advised to let others have the platforms and not try to achieve too much.  The trouble is that this is what the racists want. They want us to disappear. I love Cork and feel it's a great city. However, sometimes I think it would have been easier if I had just left."

He said that foreign nationals publicly condemning racism in Ireland are often frowned upon.

"The Irish are not perfect, just like any other culture. However, every single time an immigrant raises a question the country is up in arms. What culture have we created that we can do no wrong or evil?"

Mr De Sondy said the organised nature of the far-right movement is unnerving.

"It worries me that this narrative has prevailed and become part of politics," he said. "Hateful people are far more organised. The fact that they are looking so closely and paying that much attention to what I do and say is frightening."

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