Two national Muslim organizations say they are troubled that Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week drew a link between radicalization and mosques. And Leftist NDP Leader Tom Mulcair decries prime minister’s comment as a form of ‘Islamophobia.’
CBC The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Muslim Lawyers’ Association (CMLA) said in a press release Monday that they are “deeply troubled” Harper “implicated Canadian mosques as venues where terrorism is advocated or promoted.” In a press release, the groups demanded Harper apologize.
Amira Elghawaby, human rights co-ordinator for the NCCM, said the organization found Harper’s comments “extremely divisive.”
“Considering that we’ve seen anti-Muslim violence and vandalism at places of worship, it was very disturbing to see the prime minister create this kind of impression in the minds of Canadians, that there’s something wrong going on when there isn’t anything of that sort,” Elghawaby said.
Harper made the remark last Friday when he was answering a question about the Canadian government’s new anti-terrorism legislation. The measures unveiled in Bill C-51 include criminalizing advocacy for or promotion of a terrorist act. Another measure lowers the threshold needed for police to arrest somebody they suspect may commit a terrorist act.
Asked how to distinguish between teens messing around in their basements and someone who is radicalized, Harper said it would be a serious offence “no matter who you are.” “It doesn’t matter what the age of the person is, or whether they’re in a basement, or whether they’re in a mosque or somewhere else,” Harper said.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said the two groups are right to demand an apology. “It was irresponsible of the prime minister to throw the mosques into his comments. It was a form of Islamophobia and it was wrong. So he should realize that he was wrong to do that and simply apologize to the Muslim community,” Mulcair said.
Harper and other officials have repeatedly cited jihadi terrorism in speeches and comments about the changes proposed in Bill C-51. Liberal public safety critic Wayne Easter says, “Harper should be more cautious in what he says as he seems to be suggesting, ‘Be afraid, be very afraid,’ and turning this into a political issue.”
The usual Muslim and dhimmi Lefitst response: Blame Israel