Thursday, July 21, 2005

120 Canadian imams condemn terrorism

This is an update of the story I posted yesterday (scroll down). I note that the imams stopped short of issuing a fatwa, which would have greater authority among Muslims. However, the imams did declare that they would turn extremists over to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service or the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police).

From the Globe and Mail
Friday, July 22, 2005
by Unnati Gandhi

Working with authorities 'a religious duty,' Canadian Muslim leaders announce

TORONTO -- Just hours after yesterday's [second series of] explosions in London, 120 imams from across Canada issued a statement condemning terrorism in the name of religion, going so far as to say it is their "duty" to turn extremists in to the authorities.

The spiritual leaders, who represent about 600,000 Muslims in Canada, issued the statement in place of a fatwa -- a binding religious edict -- calling this month's transit attacks "evil" and "an enemy of Islam."

The statement condemned terror and religious extremism as "twisted acts [that] betray the most basic value of the sanctity of human life."

The declaration was co-ordinated by the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), marking the first time in Canada such a large group of imams from diverse ethnic backgrounds have articulated their position on jihadi Islam. …

"I myself thought this was a wave that was going to go away but it's not subsiding; it is increasing," said Imam Mahmoud Haddara, who represents a mosque in St. John's.

"We have to realize that whether the aggression comes from outside or within, it doesn't really matter. There is a loss of life and there is terrorism, and that's really what we should face." …

The imams were prodded to go further, and asked how they would deal with someone harbouring extremist thoughts in their congregation.

They said they would help the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP.

"You try to deal with the situation. You educate that person that even joking about this is not appropriate," Imam Haddara said. "And if they are serious about it, then it is my obligation as an imam to report this to the authorities."

Religious edict by 120 spiritual leaders to declare
London bombings un-Islamic

from Thursday's Globe and Mail
By Marina Jiménez

In an unprecedented move, 120 Canadian imams and other Islamic religious leaders from across the country will release a statement today denouncing terrorism and vowing to confront religious extremism.

The declaration, co-ordinated by the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), will be released at a news conference at a downtown Toronto mosque following noon-time prayers. Imams from Calgary, Newfoundland and Toronto will attend.

The planned statement comes several days after Britain's largest Sunni Muslim group issued a fatwa – a binding religious edict – condemning the July 7 bombings on the London Underground and a double-decker bus that killed at least 56. The attacks were carried out by four suicide bombers, three British-born men of Pakistani origin and a Jamaican Briton.

Organizations representing Canada's 600,000 Muslims have struggled to articulate a co-ordinated response to jihadi Islam, and today marks the first time such a large group of imams from diverse ethnic backgrounds will issue what is expected to be a similar fatwa or declaration condemning the bombings as un-Islamic. …

In an interview last week, CAIR-CAN's executive director, Riad Saloojee, [said] "The Muslim community is coming face to face with the challenge of ensuring that those among us, especially the youth, can internalize Islam in a comprehensive way that has nothing to do with violence or terrorism, which is inimical to Islamic teachings."

Tarek Fatah, with the Muslim Canadian Congress, called the imams' initiative long overdue, and said all Muslims must clearly support a separation of religion and state as a first step to fighting extremism.


At 1:15 PM, July 21, 2005, Blogger Mary P. said...

This is a welcome development,if a tad overdue. I foresee a gradual split between those Muslim within western societies, exposed to a more diverse world, and those inured in isolation in traditional, homogeneous Islamic societies. This, I feel, is all to the good.


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