Canada: government bans leading Muslim from Defence Department event

An Ottawa imam who calls himself a bridge builder between Muslims and other Canadians has been barred by the Harper government from speaking at a Defence Department event next week on the grounds that his organization has promoted “extremist views.”

Zijad Delic, national executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, was scheduled to participate on Monday in a National Defence headquarters ceremony recognizing Islamic History Month.

But Defence Minister Peter MacKay has cancelled the imam’s planned appearance after learning of it Friday. His office issued a statement saying the Canadian Islamic Congress has a record of fomenting hatred and has no place at an event honouring Muslim contributions to this country.

Mr. Delic has previously been cited for efforts to help Muslims integrate into Canadian society. He was one of 13 Canadians included in a 2009 book, The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World, penned by Islamic studies scholars at Georgetown University. One of the book’s editors called Mr. Delic “a scholar who writes about how Muslims can integrate into Canadian society.”

Globe & Mail, 2 October 2010