The unprecedented gathering will involve delegates from at least half a dozen Muslim organizations and mosques setting aside sectarian and theological differences to lay the groundwork for a collective solution to prevent young Canadians from joining terror groups like the Islamic State.
“It’s really important considering that everyone that will be there all have theological differences,” said Imam Umair Khan, of Calgary’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at (Community).
Calgary’s police chief will meet privately Thursday with a broad spectrum of local Muslim leaders for frank, closed-door discussions about curbing youth radicalization.
Imam Umair Khan, of Calgary’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at (Community) says:
“It’s huge that everyone is getting together, setting aside their differences and speaking on a common goal, which is that what these extremist groups are doing is not correct,” he said.
At least 130 Canadians, mostly young men, are believed to have been recruited by foreign terrorist organizations and have been fighting in Syria and Iraq, according to federal officials.
City police suspect at least 30 Calgarians are among those recruits.
Fears of homegrown terrorism were realized last month in two attacks. A Canadian soldier was killed in a hit-and-run in Quebec and another soldier was shot to death in Ottawa. Both attackers were recent converts to Islam.
Chief Rick Hanson was unavailable Wednesday to discuss this week’s meeting.
But Insp. Mike Bossley, with the Calgary Police Services’ community and youth services section, said the confidential meeting allows participants to speak freely about solutions and criminal radicalization.
“It gives us an opportunity to have an initial meeting where we’re communicating openly and honestly and being sensitive to everybody’s needs,” Bossley said. “Whereas if you do it individually, you may not get that really open conversation … which is what we’re hoping to do.”
“By providing an opportunity where we can have multiple voices, we can learn more than by having individual meetings with each group,” he said.
In September, local Muslim leaders, social agencies, city police, RCMP and politicians gathered in Calgary for a four-day conference, OWNIT 2014, to build and strengthen relationships to counter youth radicalization.
Earlier this week, SAIT’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Students’ Association played host to Stop The CrISIS, a nationwide campaign in which a panel of Islamic scholars discuss youth radicalization and foster dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims.
“We’re at the point now where condemning is not enough,” said Khan, one of the speakers at the Stop The CrISIS event. “We have to do something, and our approach is in education.”
Imam Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, said Thursday’s meeting marks the …read more at calgaryherald.com