Muslim Council of Montreal denounces CANWEST's article

March 8, 2004

The Muslim Council of Montral (MCM) is greatly disturbed by the allegations levied in the article "Saudis Fund Radicals in Canada" in the Friday July 30th version of the Montral Gazette and the National Post, both owned by CanWest.

"It seems that CanWest is forging ahead full speed in this hunt, where the attack is on Islam and the prey remains Muslims and their institutions," stated Salam Elmenyawi, President of MCM. "Instead of fostering better understanding within our diverse Montral community, this will only create a harsh and intolerant environment within our city and country."

"CanWest should own up to its social responsibility and stop sowing these seeds of hatred and suspicion."

The article in question was based on the allegations from a U.S. panel on terrorist financing, claiming that the government of Saudi Arabia directly finances various mosques and Islamic centers in Canada. The article contends that these organizations "may be terrorist fronts". Yet it does not offer any conclusive evidence to back up these claims, despite naming some of the organizations.

"These charges are unjust and unethical," Elmenyawi said. "Muslims are once again labeled the enemy, with unfounded accusations that the Saudi government controls our institutions and that it exports any terrorist ideas to us. While the allegations are loud and clear, the evidence and substantiation for these claims are inexcusably absent"

"When the media partakes in this shoddy journalism, they are creating a climate of hate and suspicion amongst neighbours. The Gazette and National Post owes their readers an apology."