Ottawa, 17 Jumadil Akhir 1434/26 April 2013 (MINA) – The role of the Muslim community in Canada in aborting a terror plot to attack a transcontinental passenger train is inviting a shower of praise from government officials and politician for their commitment to protecting their country.
“I’d like to begin by thanking law enforcement officials, as well as a brave religious leader from the Toronto Muslim community who, as we learned yesterday, helped to prevent a potentially devastating attack on Canadian soil,” Tom Mulcair, leader of the opposition New Democratic Party, told parliament, reported National Post, according to OnIslam.net as quoted by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).
Canadian police arrested two people of immigrant background on Monday on alleged plot to attack on a rail line between Toronto and New York in the United States.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper thanked the Muslim community for their role in helping the police to abort the terror plot.
“I also want to thank the co-operation we’ve received from our American authorities, from the private sector and from Canada’s Muslim community,” he said.
The two suspects, Raed Jaser of Toronto and Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal, were arrested after a tip-off from the Muslim community on their plans to attack the rail line.
“Canadian Muslims have – and will continue to – unequivocally denounce this or any other alleged terror plots by individuals who distort and pervert our faith to further their own political goals or personal agendas,” Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, told a press conference on Parliament Hill cited by The Montreal Gazette.
“Our message to anyone who espouses this ideology of violence is this: you have nothing to do with our faith.”
He said that the role of the Muslim community in aborting the plot shows their loyalty to their country.
“This is a clear demonstration that Canadian Muslims, whose welfare is tied to that of our fellow citizens, are in fact partners for peace,” Gardee said.
“We think it’s an important thing to acknowledge the role that Muslims are playing and regularly play in outreach work. We have regular contact with security agencies,” he said.
He urged the public not to judge the whole Muslim community through the acts of some individuals.
“We fully trust that our fellow citizens will see this for what it is: the alleged criminal and misguided actions of a few who do not reflect or represent Canadian Muslim communities.”
Community leaders said that Canadian Muslims have been in the frontline in defending their own country.
“Since 9/11 the Muslim community has been working very closely with government agencies, including the RCMP and police forces,” Yusuf Badat, an imam and director of religious affairs for the Islamic Foundation of Toronto, told CBC News.
“We share the same concerns that Canadians share in the safety and the prosperity of our beautiful country,” he said.
After all, he added, “we are equally affected by any terrorism threats.”
Gardee agrees, saying the Muslim community was aware of the risks of radicalized youth.
“It’s a concern that we take very seriously and it’s something we’re continuously working to address. Can more be done? More can always be done and that’s why we’re reaching out to security agencies,” he said.
Imam Samy Metwally of the Ottawa Muslim Association reiterated that Islam is against doing harm to others.
“There is no justification in Islam to kill innocent people, like what happened in Boston, or to threaten people’s lives in any way like what we see here in Canada,” he said.
He appealed to all Canadians, including Muslims, to report any criminal activity to the police.
“It’s a religious duty from an Islamic perspective … to speak up against anything that might put people’s lives in danger.”
Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada’s 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the Roman Catholic country.
A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population. (T/P012/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)