Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been criticized by the Organization for Islamic Cooperation. His remarks regarding the threat of Islamic terrorism were not well received by the OIC who accuse him of stirring controversy.
The Organization of Islamic-Cooperation (OIC), which represents 57 member states as the “collective voice of the Muslim World” has criticized remarks made by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. During an interview with CBC News that aired on Sept. 8, Harper stated that
“The major threat is still Islamicism.”
Although the interview has drawn criticism from other quarters the OIC did not publicly comment until Sept 13.
As Harper spoke of the threat of terrorism he said that the Islamic radicals posed the greatest danger. He went on to say
“When people think of Islamic terrorism, they think of Afghanistan, or maybe they think of some place in the Middle East, but the truth is that threat exists all over the world,”
adding that Canada keeps an eye on home grown Islamic radicals.
The International Islamic News Agency reported on the press release issued by the OIC that stated the OIC General Secretariat was surprised by the Canadian Premiers remarks. A spokesperson said
“Such wordings from a head of government of a sovereign state were misleading and could create controversy.”
Stressing that Islam is a religion of peace and compassion the spokesperson went on to say “Prime Minister Harper’s remarks could only serve to accentuate the misunderstanding and suspicion between the West and the Muslim World and impede on the international community’s collective goal of addressing intolerance and hatred between religions and diverse cultures.
OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu denounced Harper’s remarks as likely to
“obstruct global efforts to counter bigotry and hatred between religions and cultures”
according to the Arab News. He also pointed out that member countries of the OIC were the main victims of terrorism.
Harper’s remarks also drew criticism from Hassam al-Adhal of the Muslim World League who opined that it will
“encourage Islamophobes to carry out more attacks against Muslim minorities.”
Adhal said the remarks would discourage Muslim countries from sending their students to Canada.
Meanwhile Harper and his government are committed to reinstating strict anti-terrorism legislation.