Some Muslim spiritual leaders are reluctant to publicly condemn Islamic State militants, a Calgary imam said Monday.
Imam Syed Soharwardy said his attempts to enlist more than 30 colleagues to declare a formal edict, or fatwa, deploring the actions of ISIS in Syria and Iraq has met resistance.
“They have a fear ISIS is going to go after them, they just don’t want to sign,” said Imam Soharwardy, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.
“They’ve told me, ‘You are speaking too loudly about ISIS’ but I’m not the kind to keep my mouth shut.”
Soharwardy said he’s seeking 32 imams and Islamic scholars to join him in issuing a fatwa on Wednesday, adding as of Monday morning, he had 22.
The imam, originally from Pakistan, said he’s still hoping to enlist some Arab-speaking colleagues.
He denied any suggestion his actions are simply grandstanding. “I’m not doing this for Canadians, I’m doing this for Muslims,” he said.
The fatwa is meant to discourage recruiting for and joining the terrorist group, he said
“The Islamophobes will never accept it — my intention is those good boys and girls who are being influenced.”
The edict would also make clear ISIS’s actions mean they’ve given up any claim to being Muslim.
“They’ve disconnected, disassociated themselves from the followers of the prophet,” said Soharwardy.
The cleric regularly denounces Muslim extremist terrorism.
A receptionist at the Calgary Islamic Centre of Calgary, 5615 14 Ave. S.W. said she’d never heard of Soharwardy’s fatwa invitation.
Other Calgary imams couldn’t be reached.