Security probe worries London's Muslim community
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London’s Muslim leaders are expressing concern as national security investigators probe figures believed to have promoted extreme Islamic views.
Dr. Hassan Mosfafa, chairman of the London-based Islamic Centre of Southwestern Ontario, is among those worried about the image being painted.
“It is more and more of a recurring issue,” Mosfafa said. “Whether it is 911, the Boston bombings or any geopolitical event that involves religion, it winds up on our doorstep.”
Coined Project Scupper, the national investigation aims to identify local places and people that may have played a role in radicalizing youths. The community has been in the spotlight since the RCMP confirmed in April that two Londoners were among 29 militants who laid siege on an Algerian gas plant.
At least two others are believed to have traveled overseas with the pair.
Since then, Mostafa and others have made it a point to ensure that young Muslims are getting the right direction.
Community leaders, for example, put out an open call for youths to attend a recent lecture from Kingston Imman Sikander Hashmi.
“We asked him to speak on how youth can follow … the middle-of-(the)-road path,” said Mostafa.
The result, he said, was a room filled with 150 to 200 youths and their parents.
If radical ideas are being taught, it’s happening secretively, said Abdul-Habib Habib, 23, of London.
A youth adviser at the London Muslim Mosque, Habib is always on the look out for individuals who may be swayed in what he considers the wrong direction.
At one point, Habib encountered a young person that sparked concerns.
“We invited him to attend a camp, I spoke with the other advisors and told them, ‘This person has issues, and we need to focus on him and make sure that before he leaves this weekend he has the proper image of Islam,’” Habib said. “We gave him lots of attentive care, and, to this day, he remains on the middle path and is a very solid person.”