Imam receives death threat, claims IS recruiting in Canada

Published: August 23, 2014
A fighter of the Islamic State holds a flag while standing on an armoured vehicle in the city of Mosul. PHOTO: REUTERS

A fighter of the Islamic State holds a flag while standing on an armoured vehicle in the city of Mosul. PHOTO: REUTERS

MONTREAL: A Canadian imam known for his pacifist sermons warned Friday that militant group IS was actively recruiting in Canada and said one member issued him a death threat.

Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC), called on Canadian and Western authorities to intensify the fight against militancy. “Absolutely I am convinced that this recruitment is going on right here in this country, under our noses, in our universities, in our colleges, in the places of worship, in our community,” he told CBC public television.

Soharwardy added that a Muslim man from Ottawa who was fighting with IS in Mosul in northern Iraq had sent him a death threat on Facebook. “He was condemning me for condemning ISIS, and he was saying that ‘You are a deviant imam and your version of Islam is not the right version,'” Soharwardy said, using another acronym by which IS is known.

The Calgary-based imam said such threats were nothing new. “I get death threats from everybody,” he said, adding that “just last month I had a death threat posted on a website.” In February, intelligence services said at least 130 Canadians were fighting with IS in Iraq and Syria.

“Three Calgarian young fellows died in Iraq and Syria fighting for ISIS. One of them was well known to me,” he said. “These people are brainwashing people here in this country,” he added.

Soharwardy also began a 48-hour hunger strike “to create awareness about the dangerous nature of ISIS” and pay homage to American journalist James Foley, who was executed by his captors in a video released Tuesday by IS.

IS declared itself a “caliphate” in late June and has since added a swath of northern Iraq to territory it already held in eastern Syria. The move has prompted a US campaign of air raids backing regional Kurdish and Iraqi forces fighting IS in the country’s north.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Faizan A
    Aug 23, 2014 - 12:06PM

    These so called Islamists should be taken care of before its too late


  • Gabriel
    Aug 23, 2014 - 12:58PM

    I guess what we are waiting for is for the rest of the Muslim leaders worldwide to condemn the Foley beheading. Speak up, people, because otherwise we feel that your silence condones deeds like this…. If you don’t distance yourself from acts like this… your silence appears to condone what we label as “radical islam”


  • Aug 23, 2014 - 1:47PM

    Certainly a good omen. More Imams across the Muslim World need to come forward and stand up against the likes of ISIS.


  • tarique
    Aug 23, 2014 - 4:57PM

    Isis is a Muslim problem. Isis is massacring people of every faith in the name Islam on behalf of a so called Islamic government. Muslims need to unify and put aside their petty differences. For godsake people are being massacred and beheaded like lamb in the name of Islam and shia and Sunnis leaders are too busy on distrusting each other and focuses on interest. The rise of Isis and the massacre in Syria is full responsibility of the Muslim world to work together and fix this killing of innocent people. Allah would least expect this from a muslim to stop torture and injustice to anybody. Islam is there for peace. Muslims are doing a terrible job in maintaining peace thus not a good job to living up to our creators expectation from us and what was taught by our messenger peace be upon him.


  • Harold Baker
    Aug 23, 2014 - 5:36PM

    The religion has been usurped by violent lunatics to the point where it can no longer be salvaged. As a result of the irreparable damage, most people I know view all Muslims as closet mental cases that should never be trusted. Is that racist, no. An individual has no control over what they were born, only for what they become. Islam isn’t a race, it’s a choice and I choose not to trust anyone who has chosen Islam.


  • A.R.Taylor
    Aug 23, 2014 - 5:44PM

    The death count in Iraq is approaching 200000. If ISIS is not put out of business they will start exporting terror around the world in an effort to convert everyone to their brand of Islam.


  • andy
    Aug 23, 2014 - 5:55PM

    First it was Britain, then Belgium and France, next it was Sweden and Norway..Now Canada??IS is recruiting extensively from the West..There seems to be a real serious problem with these people integrating into societies worldwide..What if they come back battle hardened into these countries after fighting? God help us everyone.Recommend

  • Moiz Omar
    Aug 23, 2014 - 8:08PM

    As both a Pakistani and a Canadian citizen, I urge both my Governments to prevent people from being brainwashed by these ISIS terrorists. Serious action must be taken against these ISIS terrorists.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Aug 23, 2014 - 9:45PM

    Western countries should facilitate everyone who wants to join ISIS. Once this garbage is out of the country, they should close the door behind them and cancel their passports. Arab countries should reap what they have sown. They are the ones who spread extremism to the world. ISIS’s ideology is no different than these oil rich nations, but fortunately for world, this ideology has returned to haunt them. Rich Arab Shiekhs and their governments who have been paying billions to spread this ideology are shivering with fear of ISIS. Now they are begging West to stop ISIS. The greedy West would follow what these fools would order them to do.


  • 1984
    Aug 24, 2014 - 1:28AM

    Not surprising,one of my muslim colleague is anti-Modi and pro-Gaza sympathizer and posts lot about them in facebook…He was once contacted by someone who sent him videos about ISIS and need to join them….

    Jihadists use Western technology only when it suits their needs


  • Stewart J
    Aug 24, 2014 - 7:33PM

    If moderate Muslims don’t stand up and be counted now, the damage done to Islam may not be reversible.


  • Zaida Parvez
    Aug 24, 2014 - 7:36PM

    You certainly have a point. This is why rational Muslims must build a counter narrative to the ones that seems to represent Islam.


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