July 29, 2005
Martin praises imams at meeting
By BRIAN GRAY,
MISSISSAUGA -- Prime Minister Paul Martin held a meeting with Canadian
Islamic religious leaders last night because of the strength of their
condemnation of terrorism.
"It is important we recognize the strength of their statement," Martin said
at the end of the meeting with 18 imams from across Canada at an airport
hotel. "It is important to recognize the truth of their statement."
Last week, 120 Canadian imams denounced terrorism as a perversion of their
faith and challenged Muslims to confront extremism. The statement came in
response to London terror attacks that claimed 52 lives on July 7 and failed
bombings on July 21.
'PART OF THE PROBLEM'
But not all Canadian Muslims were impressed by the meeting, saying the imams
are some of the most authoritarian members of the religion.
"The people who are part of the problem can't be part of the solution," said
Tarek Fatah of the Muslim Canadian Congress.
Martin should look to Muslim members of his caucus, senators, opposition MPs
and other members of the community for answers, Fatah said.
Martin said he has been speaking with a range of Canadian Muslims but the
statement deserved recognition.
Martin and a spokesman for the imams said the meeting was productive.
The imams focused on four areas to work on, said Riad Saloojee of the
Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations: Education for Muslims and
non-Muslims, more dialogue between Muslims and the RCMP and CSIS,
encouraging integration of Muslims into Canadian society and consultation
with Canadian Muslims on issues affecting them.