The Canadian Council of Imams is “a collective leadership of Imams (Ministers of Religion) in Canada. Established in 1990, the Council has been serving the Canadian Muslim communities throughout the nation in different capacities as well as acting as a unifying platform for Canadian Imams and chaplains.”
The Canadian Council of Imams strives among others “to provide a platform for Imams to come together and address issues affecting the Muslim Community at large as well as the nation” and “to act as an advisor on Islamic matters with various levels of Government.”
Canadian Council of Imams’ position on the war between Israel and Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza
On October 25, 2023, the Canadian Council of Imams issued the following statement:
An Open Letter from the Canadian Council of Imams
In light of the distressing and growing humanitarian crisis in Palestine and Israel, we, the Canadian Council of Imams, condemn the indiscriminate attack on civilians and civilian property. We reaffirm our unwavering support for peace, international law, the preservation of civilian life, and the right of self-determination of all peoples. The recent events are deeply distressing. Since October 7, a staggering 6,546 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes. Notably, the tragic attack on the al-Ahli Arab Hospital resulted in the loss of 470 lives, serving as a stark reminder of the profound human cost of this war. Such indiscriminate violence is unacceptable, and it is our duty to condemn it.
We stand in solidarity with the international community in condemning Israel’s targeted and indiscriminate killing of civilians, Including innocent children, women, and the elderly. We also denounce the inhumane occupation imposed on over 2 million inhabitants of Gaza. This occupation is a clear violation of international law and effectively serves as an express declaration of a genocide of the Palestinian people, who are compelled to live In a constant state of fear. The suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people is immeasurable.
The pain and distress that these events have caused are not confined to the Middle East alone. Canadian Muslims, like all peace-loving individuals, feel the weight of this conflict deeply. The brutal killing of Palestinians has a spillover effect, giving rise to violence even in North America. We are heartbroken by the recent murder of a 6-year-old Palestinian American Muslim child and the attempted murder of his mother in a hate crime in a Chicago suburb just last weekend. This violence is unacceptable, as is the rhetoric that fuels it. We denounce the rise in Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian racism, and anti-Semitism that has surfaced in public discourse recently. This war is making Canadian Muslims feel unsafe.
As Canadians, we strongly uphold the principles enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the fundamental right to freedom of expression. It is crucial to create a platform for diverse perspectives and narratives, fostering open and healthy dialogue.
We call upon the Canadian government, as well as all faith leaders, organizations, and the global community, to demand an immediate ceasefire and to the permanent end of occupation of the Palestinian people. The path to peace is arduous, but it is one that must be pursued with determination and a deep commitment to justice.
We look to a future where the suffering of the Palestinian people is alleviated, where Canadian Muslims and all Canadians can live without fear, and where the cries for peace and justice drown out the echoes of violence and hatred.
Canadian Council of Imams
Canadian Council of Imams’ position on the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (aka as ISIS and Daesh)
On August 22, 2014, the Canadian Council of Imams issued the following statement:
Canadian Council of Imams Warns Canadian Muslims about ISIS and its “Deviant” Nature
The Canadian Council of Imams (CCI) today reiterates its past declarations condemning violent extremism and underscoring Canadian Muslims’ commitment to the safety and security of Canada, such as the CCI’s August 2010 declaration.
With respect to the CCI’s position on the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), we declare the following:
ISIS has manifested some of the worst and barbaric human behaviour by mercilessly and brutally killing innocent people, looting, robbing, kidnapping and enslaving hundreds of Muslim and non-Muslim women and children and committing all kinds of atrocities against religious minorities. They have displaced entire populations, executed journalists and those who refuse to join their extremist ideology. They claim to establish a so-called “Islamic caliphate” but their abomination does exactly the opposite of what Islam calls upon believers to do, namely establish peace and justice and safeguard human rights. We categorically condemn the actions of this group and its monstrous crimes against humanity, absolutely and without equivocation.
Since their advent, ISIS mercenaries have caused nothing but destruction and corruption and have violated core Islamic teachings and principles such as the sanctity of life and the importance of treating others with dignity and respect. By self-admission, ISIS has terrorized different religious and ethnic communities in Syria and Iraq and they have destroyed Mosques and Shrines of Muslim scholars and leaders. Anyone who disagrees with them is murdered and they expropriate the property of others.
ISIS attacks on non-Muslim minorities in Syria and Iraq, who have lived peacefully for centuries alongside Muslims, clearly demonstrate the deviant nature of this group and their renunciation of the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings of God be upon him) teachings and clear instructions regarding the full protection, privileges and rights to people of other faiths [reference: for example, see the Charters of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mount Sinai by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in 628 CE]. Muslims throughout the centuries have honoured and applied these rights in all lands they ruled.
At the present, we call upon all Canadian Muslims to denounce this deliberate perversion of the Muslim faith and to dissociate themselves totally from such a despicable ideology and dangerous people who intentionally use the name of Islam in their ongoing campaign of distortion and destruction.
We emphasize that Canadian Muslim communities live peacefully and respectfully with people from different faiths and beliefs, as well as various ethnicities across Canada. They wholeheartedly understand and believe that it is a religious and a civic duty to promote and support peaceful coexistence and multiculturalism and to condemn bigotry, hate and discrimination against any group, here and everywhere: that is essential to being both Muslim and Canadian.
Excerpts from a report published by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (updated on November 16, 2023):
On Saturday 7 October 2023, the religious holiday of Simhat Torah, in an act of war, approximately two thousand terrorists from the Gaza Strip infiltrated Israel by land, sea and air at several locations and advanced towards Israeli communities and population centers. This was carried out in conjunction with indiscriminate rocket fire targeting towns and cities in the south, the center of the country, and Jerusalem with the intent of maximizing harm to civilians.
The terrorists penetrated several southern settlements and began a murderous killing spree of families and individuals in their homes, in the streets and at a music festival that was being held in the area. The terrorists rampaged throughout the region for many hours, during which time they committed atrocities on a scale that have not been seen since the events of the ISIS massacre in Sinjar in 2014.
The evidence found on the ground, the documentation caught on camera by the terrorists themselves and by security cameras, survivors and other sources, as well as survivors’ testimonies, document a horrendous story of attackers devoid of any shred of humanity. Families were slaughtered in their beds, women were viciously raped, and innocent civilians were maimed, killed and in some instances beheaded. In addition, civilians were burnt alive, babies were butchered, and hundreds of men and women were viciously gunned down while simply dancing at a music festival. Upon their return to the Gaza Strip, the terrorists abducted everyone they happened upon – with an emphasis on families, women and children.
Over two hundred Israeli citizens have been abducted and are being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, including small children, women and the elderly. Many of the abductees were injured by Hamas terrorists, many of them need medical treatment and medication, and the condition of many of the abductees is unknown. This is a serious humanitarian crisis and a very fundamental violation of international law, and Israel expects the international community to act in every possible way to protect the rights of the abductees, to ensure proper medical treatment and to provide humanitarian aid to the abductees and their families..
Over the past few days, anti-tank missiles and mortar shells were fired from Lebanese territory at IDF positions on the Lebanese border while terrorists, under the auspices of Hezbollah, attempted to infiltrate Israel.
This means that Israel is at war against the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. Israel security forces are determined to protect the citizens of Israel on all fronts. The IDF will protect the residents of the State of Israel; the Hamas terror organization and all the terrorists involved in harming the citizens of Israel will pay a very heavy price.
The displacement of tens of thousands of Israelis from their homes in the communities around the Gaza Strip in the wake of the terrorist attack that destroyed their homes and the ongoing rocket fire, and from the northern border communities following the ongoing attacks by Hezbollah on border villages, is posing a significant challenge to Israel. This displacement has intensified the challenging situation in which the survivors of the Hamas massacre in the villages and towns surrounding the Gaza Strip find themselves.
Iran bears direct responsibility for the capabilities of its proxies in the region and therefore also for the use they make of these capabilities.
Additionally, Iran promotes attacks on Israel form other fronts – Lebanon and Syria to the north, using Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, and from the south using the Houthis, Iran’s proxy in Yemen. This is reflected in the firing of missiles, rockets and mortar shells from the north and the launching of missiles and UAVs towards Israel from the south.
Israel has no wish to expand the fighting into other regions but is ready for such developments and will retaliate fiercely and forcefully. The expansion of the arena of fighting against Israel will be met with a particularly harsh response.
In the aftermath of these events, the extent of Israeli casualties was found to be staggering. The casualty toll in Israel currently stands at approximately 1,400 people murdered and 7,262 wounded. About 239 abductees are being held in the Gaza Strip. There are 287 foreign nationals among the murdered people, as well as 15 among the missing and 120 abducted (including holders of dual citizenship). 34 children – 10 of whom are under the age of 5 – as well as 18 elderly people over 75 are among the abducted.
Over 9,500 missiles and rockets have been fired towards Israel so far. Over 1,000 rockets launched from Gaza have fallen inside the Gaza Strip, often resulting in injuries to Gazan residents and infrastructure – including hospitals and schools.
- Hamas is holding approximately 239 abductees captive in complete denial of their rights and in violation of international law.
- Israel demands that the Red Cross be permitted to visit abductees and supply medicine and medical treatment and expects the Red Cross and the international community to take measures to ensure their safety and to work for their release.
- Approximately 250 thousand Israelis have so far been displaced from their homes in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip and the northern border and dispersed in various shelters throughout Israel.
IDF forces are operating currently at Shifa Hospital (Wednesday, 15 November), following an early warning that was given to the hospital’s administration. The forces have provided humanitarian equipment, including medicines, baby food and other supplies to the hospital. The forces are accompanied by Arabic-speaking soldiers and medical staff, to ensure