Soharwardy: “They should take on the responsibility…”

Headline: Prominent Muslim cleric urges imams to vet new Islamic converts


From the article:

 “I’m not sure who helped them to convert to Islam. Who was the imam? What kind of relationship did those people have with those people who converted them to Islam? Those very important questions need to be answered,” said Soharwardy.

“They should take on the responsibility of checking backgrounds and staying in touch and make sure this person is not being recruited by any radical organization or terrorist organizations.”

Soharwardy estimates 20 to 30 Canadians convert to Islam every week. He said it is the responsibility of clerics to make sure the converts are doing it for the right reasons.


Syed Soharwardy is the same cleric who, in 2006, called the RCMP and asked them to arrest the publisher of an Alberta magazine which dared to republish the infamous Danish cartoons.  When the RCMP informed him that it was not a police matter, he launched a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.  Eventually, he dropped the case, saying that he’d come to “understand that most Canadians see this as an issue of freedom of speech, that that principle is sacred and holy in our society”.

In the past week, there have been two terrorist attacks in Canada by recent converts to Islam.  Today, Soharwardy is urging Canadian imams to take responsibility for those they lead to conversion.  That sounds positive.  Those of us who are critical of Islam have often asked, “Where are the voices of the moderate Muslims?”  Here is one, perhaps.

I hope I’m not being too naive in thinking that maybe he’s sincere.  I’m objective enough to note that he is likely acting in the collective self-interest of his faith community.  I’m interested in hearing the opinions of others on this.

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