Alberta, 12 Jumadil Awwal 1436/3 March 2015 (MINA) – Joining forces to combat radicalism, Calgary Muslim leaders met with officials and other faith groups to discuss extremist threats faced by the Canadian community.
“In a very peaceful city like Calgary, we have seen a number of kids from here that have gone abroad,” Atthar Mahmoud of Muslims Against Terrorism, was quoted by CTV on Sunday, March 1.
“I think that they are brainwashed by some sources and that is the authority’s job to find who is behind it,” On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
Sunday’s meeting came in response to several reports that some Calgarian youth have traveled abroad to fight alongside the so-called Islamic State (ISIL). Meanwhile, Muslim leaders in Calgary have been engaging with other faith groups, police, university groups and politicians to develop a strategy to combat extremism in the city.
“Basically, the idea is to create awareness,” said Syed Sohardwary of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.
“Islam is not about what ISIL and ISIS are doing. It is against Islam, it is wrong, it is criminal, and it is not jihad. It is terrorism.”
ISIL threat appeared last June 30 when the group made a surprise announcement of the establishment of a new Islamic “caliphate” and changed its name into the Islamic State. The declaration was made in an audio recording distributed online in which ISIL declared its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “the caliph” and “leader for Muslims everywhere”.
The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has dismissed ISIL announcement of forming a “caliphate” in areas they control in Iraq and Syria, saying it lacked any Islamic or realistic aspects. The Union has also warned that such declarations open the door for chaos and allows other organization to instill itself on an important issue such as the Islamic Caliphate.
Militants from ISIL have been widely condemned by Muslims worldwide who staged several protests to express anger against the terrorist group.
Joining anti-radicalism efforts, Canadian liberal leaders said that additional resources are needed to combat extremists’ recruitment.
“We need to make sure that we’re giving our police and information services and security services the powers they need to track and monitor and hopefully intervene in such cases,” Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said.
Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada’s 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the country. A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.
The dual terror attacks in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a few months ago, coupled with Paris shooting spree have led to unprecedented levels of anti-Muslim attacks in Canada where several mosques were vandalized.
In January, civil liberties associations and Muslims have criticized Bill C-51 suggested by Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, raising concerns about being “unfairly” targeted under the new measures.
Under the legislation, the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) will be expanded to include detaining terror suspects without charge for up to seven days and blocking bank transactions.
The CSIS will also have power to cancel someone’s flight, cancel someone’s flight and punish encouraging terrorism with prison sentences up to five years. “Where our people are getting radicalized, the government has to go after those people who are radicalizing,” said Sohardwary.
“Prevention is the way to go otherwise we will be facing this problem for a long time.” (T/P011/R04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)