Calgary Herald | Calgary Imam Calls for Inquiry into Recruitment of Muslim Radicals


Calgary imam calls for inquiry into recruitment of Muslim radicals

Calgary Herald | December 8, 2014

Imam Syed Soharwardy, leader of The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, speaks in Calgary, in a Aug. 31, 2010 photo.
Imam Syed Soharwardy, leader of The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, speaks in Calgary, in a Aug. 31, 2010 photo. JEFF MCINTOSH / THE CANADIAN PRESS

A Calgary imam is calling for a national inquiry into the recruitment and funding of homegrown Muslim extremists after an ISIS propaganda video encouraged more attacks against Canada.

Imam Syed Soharwardy said threats against the country appear to be escalating from overseas terrorism groups that have recruited Canadians, including dozens of Calgarians.

“Why has intelligence failed to stop them?” he asked. “Who funded them? This is a very important question. A national inquiry will be able to find that out.”

John Maguire, an Ontario man, appeared in a recent ISIS video urging Canadians to join the terrorist group’s fight in the Middle East or follow in the footsteps of men who waged deadly attacks in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.

Maguire accused the Canadian government of “carrying out atrocities on our people” as CF-18s deployed to Kuwait engage in U.S.-led air strikes against ISIS.

Soharwardy said Maguire sent him threatening Facebook messages from Iraq in August, calling him a deviant Muslim supporting an infidel government. He reported the incident to RCMP and Calgary police.

“He said, ‘Syed Soharwardy, shame on you; you are a deviant imam; you are supporting an infidel government and shame on you. We are fighting for Islam and we are trying to establish the Islamic government, and you are misguiding people,’” he recalled.

Federal officials estimate 130 Canadians have been recruited to fight overseas by jihadist groups, with police estimating at least 30 of them are from Calgary.

Soharwardy said Canadians have a right to find out who is “brainwashing” young men into taking up arms to fight alongside groups that are responsible for beheadings and other brutal violence.

The imam said a national inquiry into the recruitment of Muslim radicals in Canada should expose the underground networks encouraging youth to join these militant groups and sending them money to get there.

Soharwardy said he had spoken with the parents of a Canadian youth who planned to fight alongside radical Muslim groups in Syria. The young man’s mother and father found $5,000 deposited in his bank account from an unknown donor, presumably to fund his travels overseas.

The family was not from Calgary, Soharwardy said, but he would not identify them or where they lived.

“How many youth got this money? This money can be traced, and we want to know the truth, where this money came from.”

With files from Postmedia News


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