Arrests a 'serious problem' for Canadian Muslims
A prominent Canadian Muslim group is calling for the condemnation of the doctrine of armed jihad and says there is a "serious problem" with radicalized Canadian youth in light of the recent terror arrests in Ottawa.
"This is not something that comes as a total surprise . . . we have a problem," Raheel Raza of the Muslim Canadian Congress told CTV.ca Thursday. "There is a serious problem among Canadian Muslim youth and if we don't address this now, it can culminate into something dangerous."
The Muslim Canadian Congress says that the accused must be treated with the presumption of innocence, but Raza says the situation can be used to open a dialogue on radicalization within the Muslim community.
"We have to stand up and tackle this," she said, adding that she thinks the community needs to start asking itself tough questions about the radicalization of some youths and where those messages are coming from.
Despite the recent controversy in the United States regarding the "Ground Zero" mosque, Raza says that she is not worried about a backlash against Canadian Muslims, saying there will always be "hate-mongers."
"There are always going to be bigots, we can't stop speaking out against radicalization just because we are afraid of a few bigots and hate-mongers," the outspoken activist and author said. "Those people who are sensible . . . will understand what we are talking about."
Raza added that she knows she is not being "politically correct" but says she is speaking out because she "loves my faith and my country."
The Canadian Jewish Congress commended the Muslim Canadian Congress for its statement.
"We are heartened by the statements of the Muslim Canadian Congress . . . calling for Muslim leadership in Canada to condemn irrefutably the doctrine of armed jihad and for the 'mosque establishment' to acknowledge and repudiate the serious threat of homegrown extremism," CEO Bernie Farber said in a statement Thursday.
The Canadian Islamic Congress, one of Canada's largest Muslim organizations, said they are waiting for more information before commenting on the story.
Imam Zijad Delic, executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, told CTV.ca that leaders would be discussing the case with the RCMP and commenting Thursday evening.
The Muslim Canadian Congress is considered a liberal Muslim organization, but recently announced its opposition to the building of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York.
"We believe the proposal has been made in bad faith and, in Islamic parlance, is creating 'fitna,' meaning 'mischief-making,' an act clearly forbidden in the Qur'an," the group said in a statement.