Muslim Council of Montreal Expresses Its Concerns Regarding Latest Allegations Against Canada's Muslim CommunitySeptember 10, 2004
The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) expresses its grave concern and disappointment regarding the latest publication of an article which alleges that money donated from Saudi Arabia is being used to fund Canadian mosques and Islamic schools in order to extend militancy to Canada and foster the spread of terrorism, and that this could constitute a threat to the country's national security.
The article in question, entitled "Challenge and Response: Canada's Intelligence Community and the War on Terrorism," is published in the winter 2004 edition of Carleton University's "Canadian Foreign Affairs Journal," and is authored by Prof. Martin Rudner. Prof. Rudner is the founding director of Carleton University's Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies in Ottawa and writes for the RCMP and CSIS on security and terrorism issues. A report on the article was also published in the September 9th edition of the National Post written by Robert Fife.
Salam Elmenyawi, President of MCM, responded to the article by stating that "these accusations are outrageous, completely irresponsible and lack any substance."
"Furthermore," stated Elmenyawi, "Prof. Rudner's article casts a net of suspicion on the Canadian Muslim community and its institutions and I fear that it will cultivate a racist backlash, especially on the 3rd anniversary of 9/11, against members of the Canadian Muslim / Arab community."
"Canada's Muslim community has in the past, and will continue to denounce any type of terrorist activity as it violates the principles of the teachings of Islam," he said, "but as a result of Prof. Rudner's article and the National Post's report, Muslims in Canada have been put on the defensive and are already labelled as being guilty until proven otherwise."
"As an outcome, Muslims will be looked upon as a threat to Canada, and Mosques and Islamic schools will be more closely scrutinized and have a perpetual cloud of suspicion hovering over them," he stated.
"In the current social and political climate our community will no longer feel safe as a result of this latest study."
Elmenyawi also said that there is no connection between funding from Saudi Arabia and the propagation of militant and terrorist activity in Canada and that the challenge is made to Prof. Rudner or any other person to prove otherwise.
"The sad reality," stated Elmenyawi, "is that the outcome of all these accusations will be that Canada's Muslim community will be open to further attack by people who already want to believe the worst about Muslims, and this will provide them with ammunition to further target defenceless and innocent citizens of this country."
"As an academic, Prof. Rudner most certainly possesses academic freedom to publish his views, but when these views begin targeting members of an already vulnerable minority community then we feel the line of acceptable discourse has been crossed," stated Elmenyawi.