Calgary imam declares ‘fatwa’ on ISIS and denounces the terrorist group’s efforts to recruit Canadians
National Post | March 11, 2015
Dylan Robertson, Postmedia News | March 11, 2015 | Last Updated: Mar 11 2:35 PM ET
A Calgary imam has led 38 imams to sign a formal edict against Canadian recruitment by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.
Imam Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, will publish the fatwa Wednesday morning, targeting “the radicalization and the recruitment for IS/ISIL in Canada,” according to a news release.
The news release only mentions ISIS and not other violent groups Canadians have joined abroad, like al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. Groups of imams have issued fatwas against ISIS in the past year in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the U.K.
Soharwardy also took aim at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s rhetoric regarding the Islamic faith.
“Harper is not treating Muslims with equal eyes, with equal respect,” he said.
Soharwardy founded the group Muslims Against Terrorism and has publicly implored Muslim clerics and families to have tough discussions with wayward young people. He claims some other Canadian imams fear they’ll face violence if they oppose ISIS too loudly.
At a Senate committee last December, Soharwardy called on the federal government to launch an inquiry into the recruitment of Muslim radicals.
The imam has also designed a checklist to weed out new converts who aspire to join terrorist groups, after imams nationwide observed a spike of new Muslims since last October’s terrorist attacks. However, the vast majority of converts are not radicalized.
Soharwardy has issued fatwas in the past, including a 2010 edict against terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists and a 2012 fatwa targeting honour killings.
Though not legally binding, a fatwa carries substantial weight within Islam, particularly with followers of the Shia branch of the faith. ISIS follows a radical version of the Sunni branch of Islam.