Quebec Muslims condemn extremism and call for fairness

June 6, 2006

Quebec Muslims are shocked and outraged by the news of the alleged terrorist plot uncovered in Ontario. We reiterate our strong condemnation of terrorism and extremism in all its forms and expressions. Extremism, violence, political crimes, and illegal actions have no place in our Canadian society and are equally condemned by all of us.

While we strongly condemn such alleged acts, we urge all Canadians, and the media in particular, not to rush to judgement and to respect the fact that the accused are now in the hands of the justice system. We must work hard to protect justice and respect Canadian values of equality and fairness. Those accused must be considered innocent until proven guilty in a transparent and fair trial that respects due process and natural justice. If they are found guilty then they should be viewed as criminals who neither reflect our community’s values nor our faith. In such eventuality, Canadian Muslims would be very grateful and applaud our police officers for preventing such a criminal act.

We believe that extremism is a social phenomenon stemming from, among other causes, the politics of social exclusion and the alienation of certain communities, to the extent that citizens of some faiths or ethnic backgrounds are discriminated against and considered second-class citizens, to say the least.

The Muslim community has been constantly raising concerns about racism, which expresses itself in racial profiling and Islamophobia, to our politicians and to the media demanding that they should take proactive measures to combat all forms of racism, hate and intolerance. We also invite our government to be consistent and coherent in applying policies that insure integration of all Canadians in order to protect all communities against racism, stereotyping and social exclusion.

We applaud and thank the Premier of Ontario, CSIS and the RCMP spokespersons, the Mayor of Toronto and the Toronto Chief of Police for their fair statements that exhibited great sensitivity and respect toward the Muslim community. They correctly referred to these acts as alleged criminal acts motivated by politics and hatred not by any religion or faith. We also thank all other Canadian and Quebec leaders who made positive and constructive comments and stood in support of the Muslim community. These statements are a model for all to follow in these hard times we are all facing, and are also a deeply appreciated call to all of us, Canadians, to stand united against all criminal acts regardless of our ethnicity, religion or origin.

Finally, we stretch out our hands to all our Canadian institutions to work with us, hand in hand, in fighting all forms of crime and intolerance in our society, as equals and respected partners.