Ahmadiyya Muslims rally against extremism
Members of a Winnipeg Muslim community rallied at the Manitoba Legislative Building Sunday to condemn the violent attacks against two Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and Quebec.
The group, mostly members of the Ahmadiyya Mosque, waved Canadian flags and wore poppies.
"This is our backlash to what happened two weeks ago, because it doesn't represent the true teachings of Islam, which seem to have been lost by some people,” said Muslim Canadian Bashir Khan.
Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo were killed by Canadian-born men who had recently converted to Islam.
Investigators say both Ottawa shooter Michael Zihaf-Bibeau and Quebec attacker Martin Couture-Rouleau had been radicalized by Islamic State ideology.
"This is not true Islam,” said Mahpara Talat at the rally. “We don't support this. It is really barbaric and I was really saddened by what happened."
In the wake of the two attacks, vandals damaged a mosque in Cold Lake, Alberta, smashing windows and spray-painting ‘Go home’ on the walls.
Zulfiqar Ali, an imam at the Ahmadiyya Mosque in Winnipeg, says violent attacks in the name of Islam can trigger backlash against Canadian Muslims.
"It is there. Sometimes it's there. But I have not experienced that here in Winnipeg, not to that extent,” said Ali.
Calling loyalty to one’s country a fundamental pillar of Islam, people at Sunday’s rally proudly said they stand in solidarity with members of the Canadian military.
"The freedom that I enjoy in this country is because a soldier laid down his life, or her life, in Canada.” said Khan. “Be it the last two weeks or fifty years ago or a hundred years ago."
The mosque will be collecting donations this week to donate to programs to Canadian veterans.