Muslim Leaders Meet with PMs, Call for Proactive Measures to Eliminate Extremism

June 12, 2006

Source: Hamilton Spectator/CP

On June 12, 2006 the Canadian Press reported, "Some Muslim leaders used a closed-door meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call on the federal government to help curb extremism in their community.

And participants expressed renewed concern that the Muslim community at large is being associated with 17 people from the Toronto area alleged last week to have plotted terrorist attacks.

Adam Esse, president of the Coalition of Muslim Organizations, said he asked Harper at the weekend session to 'stand with his own citizens ... Canadian Muslims,' and assure them protection from any backlash.

Harper addressed those concerns, saying the government will draw a 'clear line' between criminal elements and the vast majority of peaceful Canadian Muslims, said Uyghur Canadian Association president Mohamed Tohti.

Participants say Harper took detailed notes and assured the group of about 15 that he recognized the concerns of their community.

Tarek Fatah, spokesman for the Muslim Canadian Congress, said Muslims from the conservative right to the secular left were in attendance.

He described it as a 'healthy mix' of academics, activists, authors and imams. The meeting was off limits to the media... Tohti and Raheel Raza, author of Their Jihad is Not My Jihad, a condemnation of Islamic extremism, said Canada needs an accreditation program for imams to ensure Islam isn't being twisted into hateful ideology...

Raza also said mosques should be open to scrutiny and anyone heard preaching hate should be removed immediately.

Farzana Hassan-Shahid, of the Muslim Canadian Congress, agreed that the Muslim community needs to be held accountable.

'We need to be more proactive, rather than issue statements of condemnation.'"