Muslim Council of Montreal condemns LaPresse articles against Montreal mosque as inflammatoryNovember 22, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Montreal, Quebec, November 21st, 2013 - The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) condemns the LaPresse newspaper for its recent inflammatory and unfounded articles against local Montreal mosque, Al Sunnah al Nabawiah.“We reject any insinuation that this mosque has ties to any terrorist organizations, individuals or ideology,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “Such stories that attempt to create suspicion and fear without any evidence to support their claims are unfair attacks on our community. The Al Sunnah mosque operates very transparently and is always open to the public and it is clear that there is nothing illegal or dangerous about its activities. It has been visited by numerous politicians, churches, synagogues and schools and routinely participates in events to encourage social harmony, civic contribution, engagement and integration. Al Sunnah has no connection with any of the individuals mentioned in the article.”
The LaPresse articles make numerous false allegations about the Al Sunnah mosque, without providing any evidence to justify their accusations. MCM rejects the allegations that the Al Sunnah mosque is abusing its charitable status, that it finances any political activities or that it pays any salary to its directors. MCM demands that LaPresse produce evidence to justify their allegations, or retract their statements and issue an apology immediately for defaming the mosque and targeting it unjustly.
“In addition to targeting our mosques with bigoted suspicion, the LaPresse articles also attempt to demonize Montreal Muslim leaders, marginalize them and deny their positive contributions in society,” Elmenyawi said. “They continue to launch accusations against us, without any evidence to back their claims. Again and again they twist the facts out of context and use loaded labels to try to demonize and stigmatize respected Islamic values and practices. This is nothing but a clear attempt to attack our community and create hate against Muslims.”
MCM notes that these allegations have been made and that they were addressed and answered many years ago when they first emerged. To continue to bring them up again ten years later, without any evidence of wrongdoing on part of the mosque only adds to the prevalent bias against the Muslim community, as the information of the analysis was already proved to be totally false and outlandish. MCM further calls on all media outlets to exercise greater caution and sensibility when in their coverage, to present a balanced picture of the facts and avoid rushing to sensationalist and irresponsible reporting.
MCM points out that the Al Sunnah mosque is the largest in Montreal and is attended by hundreds of different people and it is impossible for the mosque administrators to be aware of the background of every individual attending the mosque or be accountable if any member of its congregation is ever found guilty of a crime.
“There is no doubt that were the mosque to ever have reason to believe any of its congregation posed any sort of danger to national security, they would alert the authorities immediately” Elmenyawi said. “To assume or suggest otherwise, based simply on their religious affiliation, is purely racist and Islamophobic.”
Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM)
Ph.: (514) 748-8427
The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) is an umbrella organization representing a number of Islamic institutions in the Montreal region. There are over 325,000 Muslims in Montreal, about 1,300,000 in Canada and 1.9 billion worldwide.