Canada Edmonton Somali leaders condemn terror attack

11:26  02 october  2017
11:26  02 october  2017 Source:   Edmonton Journal

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The terrorism suspect linked to a nighttime rampage on Edmonton ’s streets was not well known to members of the Somali community, local leaders said Sunday. And they called for Edmontonians to resist letting the incident inflame prejudice and hatred.

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The terrorism suspect linked to a nighttime rampage on Edmonton’s streets was not well known to members of the Somali community, local leaders said Sunday. And they called for Edmontonians to resist letting the incident inflame prejudice and hatred.

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Local leaders quickly distanced the community from Al-Shabab, which has recruited fighters from Minnesota.

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The suspect, identified by sources as Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, was “kind of a lone person, someone who was aloof from the community,” said Jibril Ibrahim of the Somali Canadian Cultural Society of Edmonton.

“This is not a community issue,” he added. “This is an individual who has gone wrong. We condemn in the strongest terms what has taken place. We just want to let the public know the Somali community is part of the fabric of this society.”

Police revealed Sunday the suspect is a Somali national who came to the attention of law enforcement in 2015 for extremist views.

Ahmed “Knowmadic” Ali, the City of Edmonton’s poet laureate, said he does not know anyone who knows the suspect. “As Somalis … as Edmontonians, we do not stand for such behaviour,” he said. “This is not who we are.”

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Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, the Somali refugee said to have committed suspected terrorist attacks in Edmonton late Saturday, kept a low "We are your neighbours, co-workers and police officers and we stand strongly beside you in condemning this violence and mourning its effect on the community."

Ali said much of the Somali community met Sunday and agreed the top priority should be to build relationships and assist police with their investigation.

Members also agreed to take a united stance against the actions to show that terrorism will fail in its attempt to further divide people, he said.

“This is how terrorism operates — hatred and prejudices are used to generate violence, which in turn generates more hatred and prejudices,” said a written statement from the Somali community. “The best answer to tragedies like this is to respond with love, compassion and empathy.”

The statement said the Somali community condemns the attacks and added that anyone who engages in such violence “has no place in our community.”

Other local Muslim leaders reacted in similarly strong terms.

Aurangzeb Qureshi, spokesman for the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council, said an event like this so close to home has heightened concerns about the potential for anti-Islamic backlash.

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However, he said members of the Muslim community can help mitigate that concern by publicly demonstrating their solidarity with the people affected by the attack, and by declaring their dedication to preventing further violence.

“It’s important for the community to know that if these people want to strike fear in the hearts of Edmontonians, they have to go through Alberta’s Muslim community first,” Qureshi said. “We are totally against these types of things. We are on the front lines.”

ElSayed Amin, imam at the Rahma Mosque in the city’s west end, called Saturday night’s rampage “an attack against the fabric of our society.”

He said he and his community members are saddened by the incident in the same way as if a mosque or a synagogue were attacked.

“A crime is a crime, and the person doing it is a criminal, whether he is Muslim, Christian, Jewish, a man of faith or non-faith,” Amin said. “Whoever is behind this should be punished according to the law of the land.“

With files from Jonny Wakefield

kgerein@postmedia.com

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How did an Islamic State flag end up in Edmonton? .
A few years ago, Arif Dewji, owner of House of Flags and Banners in Coquitlam, B.C., got an odd request from a prospective customer. A man who seemed to be based in New York sent over the design of a flag he wanted printed. A man who seemed to be based in New York sent over the design of a flag he wanted printed.

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