Calgary imam warns against preaching ‘open intolerance’
Timmins Press | February 3, 2015
Imam Syed Soharwardy is shown in Calgary, Oct. 24, 2014. (JIM WELLS/QMI Agency)
Terrorist ideology is being preached in Canadian mosques and universities and Ottawa is slow to stop the “brainwashing,” a Senate committee has heard.
Calgary imam Syed Soharwardy made the comments on Monday to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence.
He said Canada is under threat as intolerance is preached to youths across the country.
“I was in a Friday prayer in Toronto, and the imam there, with almost 300 to 400 people praying, openly said: ‘When you see a non-Muslim coming on a street from the opposite side, don’t give him a way; try to block it so he or she can just go against the wall,'” Soharwardy told MPs.
The imam also criticized Canadian-based organizations that organize university lectures to “brainwash young kids.”
Sohardwardy, who is from Pakistan, said the ultimate culprits are the Wahhabi and Salafi sects of Islam that are prevalent in Saudi Arabia.
He accused Saudis of bringing Canadians youths to the gulf state, and mentioned that “five young boys” from Vancouver are planning to make a “small pilgrimage.”
“We have to look at this whole thing with caution,” he said. “What is the interest in going there? Why are they taking them free of charge? Who is recruiting?”
Saudi-linked groups have previously raised red flags in Canada.
In 2012, the Canada Revenue Agency revoked the charity status of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. The Mississauga, Ont., group had ties to Saudi-based organizations that funnelled money to al-Qaida and the Taliban, the CRA alleged.
Soharwardy also mentioned the Canadian government’s ties to the oil-rich state.
“Saudi Arabia is … a very close ally of the United States and Canada,” said the imam. “We have a very good relationship. But Saudi Arabia is the breeding ground of that ideology that creates a terrorist.”