After a Montrealer was arrested after someone shouted “Allahu akbar” and then stabbed a police officer in Flint, Mich., Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard angered many Muslims by saying, “Unfortunately, you cannot disconnect this type of event from Islam in general.”
But Imam Luqman Ahmed expressed agreement after his Eid sermon at the Ahmadiyya Islamic Centre in Montreal North.
“If the statement means that somehow Islamic teachings justify terrorism, then I do not agree with this statement. But if it means that within the larger Muslim community, there is a problem with extremism, then I think he is right,” Ahmed told Global News.
In the statement, Couillard also applauded French president Emmanuel Macron.
“I think President Macron was very eloquent about this when addressing the Muslim community in France. He said: ‘It’s also your responsibility to act on the theological front. To explain to your people that this is not part of your religion.’”
Ahmed welcomed what Couillard said.
“We welcome his call that Muslims should do more against extremism. I welcome his call that Muslims should fight on a theological front against extremists,” the imam told Global News.
“These people who are calling themselves Muslims — I believe otherwise — they are working very hard to put a bad name to Islam. It’s our responsibility to work twice as hard to bring the true face of Islam out,” said Faraz Ahmad, a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
Members of the mosque have consistently engaged in outreach efforts. They spoke of a program reaching out to young Muslims at risk of radicalization. They’ve also held open houses, and an initiative to bring non-Muslims into their homes to share a meal.
“People,when they meet a Muslim, when they talk, when they ask questions they have, that’s when they really understand who Muslims are,” said Khalid Butt, a spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
They plan to reach out to the premier to ask what they can do to help.