Muslim Council of Montreal asks Canadian government to fight racial profiling

June 18, 2007

Calling on all Canadian Muslims to report their experiences

Montreal, Quebec, June 18, 2007- The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) condemns the targeting and racial profiling of Canadian Muslims by airport and border officials. Dr. Munir El-Kassem, a Canadian Muslim leader was recently detained, fingerprinted and interrogated for hours at a Detroit airport.

“Dr. Kassem was targeted for one reason only: because he is Muslim,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “The Canadian government must send a very clear message to the American government that it will not tolerate for our citizens to have their rights trampled and be treated in such a abusive manner.”

“Dr. Kassem is an exemplary Canadian citizen. In addition to being a well-respected Canadian Muslim leader who is very active in the field of inter-faith work, he is the director at the University of Western Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. Canada has been his home for many years now and he has never done anything to deserve such derogatory treatment.”

MCM strongly urges all Canadian Muslims who have been victim of racial profiling or harassment at the border to report their experiences immediately to MCM.

“When someone experiences such treatment, it is natural to be forced into silence by fear and intimidation, but it is crucial to report such occurrences and make the Canadian government aware of what is happening to Canadian citizens when they travel,” Elmenyawi said. “We are all Canadian citizens and we all deserve the protection of our government and the right to be treated respectfully and equally.”