POLITICS

Senate Report Stigmatizes Muslims, Says National Group

07/09/2015 03:41 EDT | Updated 07/09/2016 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - A national Muslim organization says it is profoundly disappointed with a Senate committee report that urges greater scrutiny of imams and barring radical thinkers from Canada.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims says the Senate security and defence committee report released this week does not offer effective solutions to the challenge of violent extremism and risks further alienating Muslim communities.

The report said the federal government should ban radical ideologues from giving speeches in Canada, look at forbidding the glorification of extremists, and explore options for training and certification of imams in Canada.

It called on the government to work with Muslim communities to create "an effective counter-narrative" to denounce the ideology of Islamist fundamentalism.

Liberals on the Conservative-dominated committee did not back the report.

Ihsaan Gardee, the council's executive director, says the report stigmatizes and marginalizes Canadian Muslim communities and portrays them as a threat rather than as a partner in the fight against violent extremism.

"It is hard to understand how a poorly drafted and poorly researched report which is replete with contradictions and mischaracterizations will do anything more than provide talking points on the election circuit," he said Thursday in a statement.

The recommendations in the report are intended to ensure the safety of all Canadians, not to pit one community against another, Conservative Sen. Daniel Lang said this week in an interview.

"Whether it be the Sikh community, or the Muslim communities or others, it is for their protection. And we have to work with the broad majority of them, because the broad majority don't support this (extremist) action."

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