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.