Born and raised in Montreal, Indo-Pakistani Canadian Navaid Aziz, 33, stumbled upon a vocation as an Islamic scholar when he was accepted to the Islamic University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia at 17. Now an imam in Calgary, Aziz will be coming to Ottawa’s I.LEAD Conference to discuss youth empowerment, countering radicalization in Muslim communities, and creating a balanced and just Muslim community.
I won't pretend that last week's video by John Maguire didn't shake me. It did. You see, besides the petrifying idea of someone attacking my countrymen in the name of my religion, it suddenly hit me that that individual who is preaching violence in the name of my religion is also targeting Me, my family, my friends, the teachers who shaped and encouraged my intellectual development, my coworkers who hired and supported me in my career, my neighbours who've helped when those snow trucks create a snow bank on my driveway after I've spent an hour breaking my back shovelling it! Everyone I know. Everyone I've ever known.
(December 10, 2014) As Canadian Muslims who have been entrusted with religious leadership in our communities, we the undersigned imams, are deeply troubled by the latest ISIS propaganda video featuring a Muslim from our city, Ottawa.
Condemn video message as "abhorrent and un-Islamic"
(Ottawa – December 8, 2014) Following the release of a video message attributed to ISIS, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent Muslim civil liberties & advocacy organization, reiterates that Canadian Muslims categorically condemn the terror group's calls for violence against Canada and other nations.
For some Muslims in Canada, the events of September 11th cling to their collective memory like a dark stain, penetrating so deep into the fabric of the community that its presence is still felt 13 years later.
“The vast majority of Muslims opposed that barbarism and today remain horrified with what happened,” states Abdul Souraya, immigration lawyer and co-chair of the Calgary Police Middle East advisory Committee.
“Sometimes the community is painted with a very large brush. And there’s a collective punishment and anguish that goes with that.”
That sentiment is particularly fresh in Calgary, the hometown of five young men who reportedly joined an Islamic extremist group and were subsequently killed in action overseas in the last year.
Souraya was one of the presenters at this year’s OWN IT 2014 – a four-day conference organized by Calgary Muslim groups. Government officials, community leaders, academics, and police convened at a southwest Calgary mosque to discuss how to prevent criminal radicalization.