Muslim Council of Montreal and Canadian Islamic Congress slam Prime Minister’s recent comments about “Islamicism”September 9, 2011
Montreal, Quebec, September 9th, 2011- The Muslim Council of Montreal and the Canadian Islamic Congress jointly expressed their dismay today over Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s comments in a recent CBC interview.“Mr. Harper’s statements about the threat of ‘Islamicism’ are nothing more than anti-Muslim rhetoric and fear-mongering and we are shocked to see such remarks from the leader of our country,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “Such divisive, demonizing language does nothing to promote security and unity; rather it will only serve to fuel the fire of suspicion, intolerance and hatred. The threat of terrorism is real, but it is a threat we face from extremists of all walks of life. Mr. Harper’s comments unfairly target the Muslim community and this is uncalled for, especially from the prime minister.”
Mr. Harper also mentioned his intention to bring two expired clauses of the Anti-terrorism Act, one allowing police to arrest suspects without a warrant and detain them for three days without charges in they suspect a terrorism act has been committed, and another allowing a judge to compel a witness to testify in secret under penalty of jail if the witness refuses.
“Mr. Harper claims the clauses are necessary and that ‘they’ve been useful’, yet the truth is that neither of the two clauses were ever even used in the five years before they expired,” Elmenyawi said. “Parliament voted against these clauses in 2007, recognizing the gross infringement on civil liberties and the dangerous precedence involved. These clauses were not needed then to protect Canadian security, freedom and justice and they are not needed today. Mr. Harper claims to be concerned with national security, yet his comments do nothing except demonize innocent people and threaten the civil rights of all Canadians.”
According to the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), Mr. Harper should take positive steps to genuinely engage with the Canadian Muslim community.
“If he made an effort to understand who we are, what we really think, and the enormous contributions we have made to this great country, Mr. Harper might find more accurate and relevant words than ‘Islamicism’ to identify challenges to Canadian society,” said Wahida Valiante, president of CIC.
Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM)
Ph.: (514) 748-8427
Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC)
The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) is an umbrella organization representing a number of Islamic institutions in the Montreal region. There are over 275,000 Muslims in Montreal, about 1,200,000 in Canada and 1.9 billion worldwide.