Calary-based Imam Syed Soharwardy, the founder of both Muslims against Terrorism and the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, spoke out forcefully against the attack in Edmonton on Sunday. He is already receiving hate mail from members of both the Muslim and non-Muslim community.

Calary-based Imam Syed Soharwardy, the founder of both Muslims against Terrorism and the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, spoke out forcefully against the attack in Edmonton on Sunday. He is already receiving hate mail from members of both the Muslim and non-Muslim community.
Photo Credit: CP Photo / Graham Hughes

As Edmonton attack sparks fears of Islamophobic backlash, an Alberta Imam speaks out

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This weekend’s attack in Edmonton (see accompanying story) is once again sparking fears in Canada’s Muslim community about an anti-Islamic backlash in the country.

Those fears, of course, go along with other Canadians’ fears about extremist acts carried out in the name of Islam.

Imam Syed Soharwardy, the founder of both Muslims against Terrorism and the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, spoke out forcefully against the attack on Sunday.

He is already receiving hate mail from members of both the Muslim and non-Muslim community.

Imam Sharwardy says the weekend attack in Edmonton--once again--proves that Canada has to do more to educate people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, about the pernicious effects of hate and why it happens.
Imam Sharwardy says the weekend attack in Edmonton–once again–proves that Canada has to do more to educate people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, about the pernicious effects of hate and why it happens. © CBC/Kate Adach

Following the mosque attack in Quebec City in January in which six people were killed and 19 others wounded, Canadians across the country gathered to support Canadian Muslims, and people in Edmonton gathered on the weekend for a vigil in support of the victims.

But pockets of right-wing agitators remain–pockets that tend to grow larger when a terrorist incident occurs.

In effort to tamp down an Islamophobic backlash, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley called the Edmonton attack  “horrific,” adding that “hatred has no place in Alberta. It’s not who we are. We are in this together and together we are stronger than any form of hate.”

Imam Soharwardy has been preaching a similar message for a long time for over two decades.

He is a Calgary-based Sufi scholar and chairman of the Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Assembly, who founded Muslims Against Terrorism in 1998 and is the president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, a group he founded 2000.

I spoke to him by phone on Monday at his office in Calgary.

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With files from Canadian Press, CBC

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One comment on “As Edmonton attack sparks fears of Islamophobic backlash, an Alberta Imam speaks out
  1. malik ashraf says:

    I strongly condemn the attack on an officer Edmonton Police and pedestrians in downtown Edmonton on Saturday night.
    The brutal act was carried away by an individual named Sharif.
    Sharif kept a low profile in the city’s Somali community.
    Numerous interviews were conducted with members of Edmonton’s Somali and broader Muslim communities, but no one appeared to know Sharif.
    The 30-year-old’s name triggered no recognition, but Saturday’s violence was unanimously condemned.
    There is a strong chance of back lash on Muslim community. Unfortunately some people make an excuse to use an individuals act to attack the whole community. We must understand that the whole Muslim community in Canada is condemning this act. I believe no one should blame all Muslims and Islam for this act taken by an individual who happens to be a Muslim. Similarly the individual who have killed 58 innocent people and injured over 500 in the Las Vegas happens to be Caucasian male, most probably with Christian faith,.. As Canadians we all must unite and stand together against any type of terror attacks on our people and our Country.