Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s. (Photo: On Islam)
Two national Muslim organizations are expressing concern over Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s remarks. (Photo: On Islam)

Ontario, 14 Rabi’ul Akhir 1436/4 Fberuary 2015 (MINA) – Two national Muslim organizations are expressing concern over Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s remarks last week implicating mosques in the country as places where terrorism is being promoted.

“Canadian Muslims are deeply troubled by the Prime Minister’s comments last Friday which implicated Canadian mosques as venues where terrorism is advocated or promoted,” the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Muslim Lawyers’ Association (CMLA) said in a joint statement obtained by correspondent.

“The words used by our elected leaders have a profound impact on public perceptions,” On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

“It doesn’t matter what the age of a person is, or whether they’re in their basement, or whether they’re in a mosque or somewhere else,” Harper said.

The NCCM and CMLA were concerned with the comments given by the Canadian Prime Minister during his announcement of Bill C-51, titled the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, on January 30th in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

“When you are engaged in activities that explicitly promote or advocate terrorism, that is a serious criminal offence no matter who you are,” he added.

The leading Canadian Muslim groups warned that the comments threatened an increase of anti-Muslim attacks in the country.

“At a time when Canadian Muslims have faced hateful attacks and vandalism against their places of worship, the Prime Minister’s remarks have regrettably cast an unjust shadow of suspicion on Canadian Muslim communities and have distorted the nature of security threats,” noted the two organizations.

Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.

Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade to more than 1 million in 2011. Muslims now represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population.


The groups said that Canadian Mosques and organizations are at the forefront in confronting terrorism and they are calling on the Prime Minister to ‘unconditionally apologize.’

“We remind the Prime Minister that Canadian mosques and Islamic associations across the country are at the forefront in confronting radicalization towards violent extremism and have and continue to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement and security agencies to promote public safety,” the statement said.

“We urge the Prime Minister to unconditionally apologize for his ill-advised comments and to meet with mainstream Canadian Muslims to better understand the important role community institutions are playing in countering the ideology of violent extremism.”

This is not the first time for PM Harper to offend Muslims.

In January 2014, Harper accused the NCCM of having ties with Palestine’s Hamas after demanding the exclusion of an anti-Islam Rabbi from delegation accompanying the PM to the Middle East.

Reacting to the controversial comments, NCCM filed a notice of libel in Ontario Superior Court, demanding an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his chief spokesman.

The libel was supported by a half-dozen other rights groups who rejected the offensive comments, offering support to the Muslim group.

Failing to get an apology from Harper after months of his defamatory remarks, NCCM filed a statement of claim in Ontario Superior Court.

Founded in 2000, the National Council of Canadian Muslims was modeled after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the United States which has distinguished itself as a pioneering civil liberties advocacy organization for American Muslims.

Since coming on the scene 13 years ago, CAIR.CAN has been a leading civil liberties group advocating for Canada’s Muslims and has been known for promoting civic engagement and mutual understanding between the nation’s Muslims and their fellow citizens.

In July 2013, The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations changed its name on July 6 into NCCM or the Conseil National des Musulmans Canadiens (CNMC). (T/P011/P3)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)