Muslim Council of Montreal Statement Regarding Recent Ontario Arrests

June 5, 2006

June 5, 2006 (Montreal): The Muslim Council of Montreal views with grave concern the news of the arrest of 17 individuals in the Toronto area in which, according to authorities, an alleged massive terrorist attack in Southern Ontario was averted.

MCM reiterates its long held position in strongly condemning anyone who uses or intends to use violence against innocent people regardless of his or her religious background and more specifically if those involved are Muslims.

"Like all other Canadians, the Muslim community is certainly concerned about issues of security. Our families, our future and all that we have invested is on Canadian soil so we have a vested interest that peace and security be maintained at all times," stated MCM President Salam Elmenyawi.

MCM urges the Canadian public not to generalize about the entire Muslim community as the details of this case unfolds in the days ahead. MCM also calls on the media to exercise restraint and avoid sensationalistic reporting as it can have a negative impact on innocent, law-abiding Canadians who have nothing to do with the incident involved. In addition, MCM calls on the Government of Canada and its institutions to refrain from equating radical persons with the rest of the Muslim community and to avoid making biased and racist statements against our community.

Elmenyawi stated that: "Efforts must be made to ensure Muslims feel they are a part of the wider society and not alienate them with generalizations, biased and racist statements which do nothing to contribute to Canada's security or reputation as a tolerant and peace loving nation."

MCM does thank and applaud all Canadian and Quebec leaders who have made positive and constructive statements and stood in support of the Muslim community, as well as CSIS and RCMP representatives and the Toronto chief of Police for their fair statements that were very sensitive towards the Muslim community.

The statements of these leaders have referred to the cause of the arrests as alleged criminal acts motivated by politics and hatred and not by any religion or faith.

"These statements are a model of a proper response during this difficult time that our community and all Canadians are facing and is very much appreciated. As Canadians we must stand united against criminal activities and those who support them regardless of ones ethnicity, religion or origin," Elmenyawi stated.