News Agencies – October 2, 2010
An Ottawa imam who calls himself a bridge builder between Muslims and other Canadians has been barred by the Canadian government from speaking at a Defence Department event on the grounds that his organization has promoted “extremist views.” Zijad Delic, national executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, was scheduled to participate in a National Defence headquarters ceremony recognizing Islamic History Month. But Defence Minister Peter MacKay has cancelled the imam’s planned appearance. 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.” Mr. MacKay’s office cited incendiary comments that were made in 2004 by a then-president of the Canadian Islamic Congress as the reason for its decision. “The Canadian Islamic Congress has declared that Israelis over the age of 18 are legitimate targets of suicide bombers,” Mr. MacKay’s spokesman Jay Paxton said.
Sohail Raza, president of the Muslim Canadian Congress, said he is happy MacKay cancelled the speech by Imam Zijad Delic.