Canadian Muslims Call for Dialogue on Terrorism

June 8, 2006

Source: Yahoo! News

Wire Service: AFP

On June 8, 2006 Agence France-Presse reported, "Muslim groups in Canada reached out for help Thursday to calm angry young men within their community, to starve extremism and begin dialogue to bridge gaps in Canada's multicultural mosaic.

'Muslim leaders from across Canada are coming forward today in order to extend a hand to all Canadians so we can face together the problems of radicalism,' said Karl Nickner of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations on behalf of five other Muslim associations.

'One of the problems, I think, with radicalization is the youth,' he said, indicating he hoped Ottawa would organize a symposium at the end of June to talk about Canadians' security concerns and goals, and promote tolerance.

'We have to listen to them (youths), we have to allow them to express their concerns, but we also have to be proactive and give them the tools to allow them to participate actively in the society.' Nickner said.

'We cannot just expect that the youth are going to know how to participate in society ... A large part of the population in Canada is already alienated by our political system. It's no different in the Muslim community.'

His comments come days after the arrests of 17 devout Muslim men and boys on terror charges that [have] sparked a vigorous debate about the country's immigration policies and multicultural traditions.

Canada has always celebrated linguistic, cultural and religious differences, but now many Muslims fear a possible xenophobic backlash."