*** BOTH sides - government and community need to work together. No one side can do it alone.
And again as a reminder, Muslims have done plenty to oppose terrorism: Toronto 18 had TWO Muslim agents, Somali community reported the problems with Al Shabab, one fatwa last year, one declaration last WEEK, and one 600-page edict from a major powerhouse scholar, Dr. Tahir al Qadri. Muslims ARE doing quite a bit but I AGREE more can be done.
Government also has quite a bit to do. MS ***
Original title: Terror allegations greeted by shock, disbelief in Muslim community
Oh no, not again.
That was the first thought that went through Alia Hogben’s head after she heard about the arrest of three men in yet another alleged homegrown terror plot this week.
“It’s very shocking and it’s very sad,” said Hogben, executive director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women. “You wonder what goes on in people’s minds who do these things.”
“I hope the vast majority of Canadians understand that majority of Muslims are just as appalled, shocked and disturbed as they are.”
The Muslim community has increasingly come under scrutiny since 9/11, most recently in 2006 after the arrest of the so-called Toronto 18. Now, once again, ordinary Muslims are in the spotlight as they struggle to come to terms with the arrests.
“Like other Canadians, I went through a series of emotions from disbelief, dismay, despondency, to even some anger that, should these charges prove to be true, how and why could these individuals have possibly been involved in something like this — especially after the events of the so-called Toronto 18?” said Ihsaan Gardee, the executive director of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations in an email on Friday.
To many Muslims, the arrests of seemingly normal Canadian Muslims — fathers, a doctor and a medical technician — are doubly troubling: they not only put every Muslim under scrutiny from those outside the community, but also create suspicion of each other from within.
The uncle of Khurram Sher, the Canadian-born doctor who was charged with conspiring to facilitate a terrorist activity, echoed such feelings when speaking to media Wednesday.
“These days, frankly speaking, you cannot even trust your brother or sister. The world is getting nasty,” he said.
And there’s some evidence that it may get worse for the community before it gets better. Since the arrests, there have been online posts of a few isolated incidents of verbal attacks and harassment of Muslims across the GTA.
On Thursday, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews appealed to Canadian and immigrants again to track and report suspicious actions or individuals. Community leaders say incidents of self-reporting have increased as extremism has become more of a reality.
“At the time of Toronto 18, there was a denial at the time about this (extremism) being a problem,” said Gardee, who attended a meeting with RCMP and Ottawa police on Thursday to discuss ways of increasing internal vigilance. “But I think now people know this is something we all need to be part of to find a solution.”
But acknowledgement of the problem leads to even more challenging questions for the Muslim leadership: how do you quell homegrown terror? And why is it happening in the first place?
“Just as there is no single path that leads someone from being a normal and positive contributing member of society to becoming a terrorism suspect, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all solution’ to the problem,” said Gardee.
He believes there needs to be more denunciation of extremism from religious leaders, increased community discussion on extremists and efforts to enhance civic engagement of Muslims in the mainstream as a start.
But despite feelings of anger and concern, most Muslim groups say there is an unwavering faith in the rule of law and due process — and a belief that perhaps it is only through the courts that the motives of the accused will be revealed and truly understood.