Canadian Council of Imams (CCI) concerned about threats to Ottawa’s Muslim Community

“Allegations against Imam is harmful to the safety of Canadians”

We, the Canadian Council of Imams, are deeply concerned by the allegations of terror connections made against Imam Samy Metwally and the Ottawa Muslim Association (OMA) mosque published in the Sun news article by Anthony Furey. Imam Samy Metwally is an active Ottawa community member and leader of interfaith dialogue among Ottawa faith communities.

The serious nature of these allegations has now resulted in threats against Metwally and the OMA. This comes at a time when the number of police reported hate crimes targeting Canadians of Muslim faith has doubled over a three year period, despite a drop in the total number of hate crimes. This week a man was charged with arson at a Hamilton Mosque.

Newspapers have a responsibility not to fan the flames of Islamophobia or intolerance towards any religion. This is an example of unacceptable characterization that puts at risk the safety of a religious worker and thousands of men, women and children who regularly worship at this mosque.

We acknowledge the newspaper including a clarification from the OMA in its subsequent article. We would urge all media to demonstrate more caution on the impact of its reporting on communities at risk.

The CCI have repeatedly condemned terrorism and, as stated in our declaration, emphasize our belief in peaceful coexistence, dialogue, bridge building and cooperation among all faiths and people.

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Nadvi