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Canada: Quebec premier says Muslims must fight terrorism

23rd Jun 2017
Canada: Quebec premier says Muslims must fight terrorism

By Barry Ellsworth

 

TRENTON, Ont. (AA): Muslims have a responsibility to fight terrorism, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said Thursday after a Montreal resident allegedly stabbed a police officer in Flint, Michigan, US, the previous day.

“Unfortunately, you cannot disconnect this type of event – terrorism – from Islam in general,” Couillard told reporters in Quebec City.

But the head of the Muslim Council of Montreal told Anadolu Agency the remarks are not helpful because Islam is not the reason for the actions of terrorists.

Salam Elmenyawi said Couillard’s comments reflect a “lack of understanding” and “religion has nothing to do with [terror attacks]”.

While agreeing that Islam, like all religions, has a responsibility to fight extremism, Hassan Guillet, spokesperson for the Council of Imams of Quebec, said drawing a connection between Islam and terrorism is wrong.

“Islam is a religion and terrorism is a crime,” he said.

Mehmet Deger, president of the Dorval Mosque in Montreal’s West Island, echoed Guillet’s view, saying such acts are in no way linked to Islam.

“This is not Islam’s fault,” he said. “Islam has nothing to do with such acts.”

Deger said Muslims “condemn such acts all the time” and are themselves often the targets of terror attacks.

Couillard was asked if Quebec Muslims would face negative reactions because of the Flint attack, allegedly by Amor Ftouhi. Montreal is in the province of Quebec.

The premier appeared to contradict his previous remarks and agreed with Elmenyawi when he quoted Emmanuel Macron who directed comments to the Muslim community in France before he became president last month.

“He told them, ‘It’s also your responsibility to act on the theological front to explain to your people that is not part of the religion – that it’s contrary to the teaching of the religion’,” Couillard said.

The premier added that the province was opposed to “any intolerance, any discrimination,” toward any group, including Muslims.

“We are completely against that,” Couillard said.

He then went on to point out that history is rife with “bad moments” regarding the Christian religion.

“Inquisitions, religious wars in Europe – horrible,” he said. “But the religion was able to distance itself from that and come back to its principles.”

Police combed the Montreal home of Ftouhi on Wednesday after the stabbing at the Bishop International Airport.

Ftouhi yelled, “Allahu Akbar,” just prior to the stabbing.

The suspect, Amor Ftouhi, who is now in custody, legally entered the United States in Lake Champlain, New York, June 16, and later traveled to Flint, Gelios said. He was in Michigan as early as June 18, Gelios said.

The incident is being investigated by the FBI as an act of terror.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard By François Thivierge/Creative Commons]

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