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September 29, 2014

Imam Syed Soharwardy: Why was he attacked?

Scott Stockdale

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Imam Syed Soharwardy, founder of Muslims against Terrorism and the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, was attacked in broad daylight recently by a woman, while on his way to lead prayers at the Genesis Centre in northeast Calgary.

Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC) and Muslims against Terrorism strongly condemned the racist attack on Imam Syed Soharwardy.

In it's statement, (ISCC) asked: “If a respectable Imam who recently raised his voice through a 52-hour hunger strike against violence and terrorist activities by ISIS in Syria and Iraq can be attacked like this, what about safety of lay/average Muslims in Canada?”

Imam Soharwardly, said he's often received death threats over the last 20 years – either by email or telephone calls - but this is the first time he's been subjected to a physical attack.

In an interview with the Canadian Charger, Imam Soharwardy said he was walking in the parking lot when he noticed a woman sitting in her car, with the car running.

“As I walked by her car, as soon as I was past she drove at me and tried to run over me. I jumped aside and she opened the door and started screaming at me: 'You are a terrorist; you don't belong in Canada; you're all hatemongers.' And she used the F word.”

After responding that he's not threatening anybody, Iman Soharwardly was walking away when he said the woman hit him from behind with her car.

When he took down her licence number and told her he was calling police, she said: “You're a coward. You're calling police.”

Imam Soharwardy said he blames these kinds of attacks on Islamophobia which goes on in the media and the resulting misunderstanding of the Muslim Community in Canada and the Islamic faith itself.

“There's a vocal group in the media – especially certain media: Sun TV – go on there website and you'll see they're spewing hate. About me, on their website they had: 'If you see him on the streets of Calgary, beat him to death.' I took a picture of it and sent it to police, but they don't even call me or follow up.”

Meanwhile, Imam Soharwardy said that although he's in the front line speaking out against fanatics such as ISIS, people in Canada don't believe he actually opposes them.

"I want to create awareness about the nature of their work— they are using Islam; they are quoting the Qur'an; they look like Muslims; they pray like Muslims but they are not Muslim. They are deviant people, and they are doing exactly everything which goes against Islam."

He added that it's Muslims who are suffering the most from militants such as ISIS.

“These fanatics have killed more Muslims than any other people. We are the ones who are suffering. They help fuel Islamophobia. People think every Muslim in this country is a terrorist. We are as loyal and law-abiding as Christians and Jews or any other group of people.”

Imam Soharwardy says he wants Muslim youth considering going overseas to fight with ISIS to reach out to him because many are being brainwashed by the terror group and other radical leaders.

He said ISIS is not performing jihad; it's terrorism and, while he's focused on making Muslim youth in Canada aware of this so they don't make the mistake of going overseas to participate in these senseless killings, he also wants to create awareness to all Canadians, “that we condemn these people as strongly, maybe more strongly, than any other Canadian because they are creating a negative image of my faith. They are creating a negative image of all Muslim communities and they are betraying us."

He also wants to see a united Muslim stand against ISIS, and is calling for Muslim leaders around the world to isolate and condemn ISIS militants from the Muslim community.

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