C-51 anti-terror law causes some Muslims to reconsider vote

"All my information is that there are no Muslims who are supporting the Conservatives," says one Montreal-area Muslim.

'All my information is that there are no Muslims who are supporting the Conservatives,' says Montreal Muslim

Ahmadiyya Muslims pray at a Montreal-area mosque. Some members of Montreal's Muslim population say they don't plan on voting for the politicians who passed C-51, but the Ahmadiyya say it's not an election issue for them. (Tanya Birkbeck/CBC)

Some Montreal Muslims say the passage of the Conservative government's controversial anti-terror legislation may affect their voting intentions.

"All my information is that there are no Muslims who are supporting the Conservatives," Montreal Muslim Hanadi Saad told CBC News.

C-51, which was first introduced to Parliament in January 2015 by then-Quebec MP Steven Blaney, received royal assent and became law in June. The controversial law gives expanded powers to police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. 

Members of two Montreal-area mosques shared their views on how the law is affecting the voting intentions of the local Muslim community.

Many say they feel targeted by the law, which they argue is too vague and could lead to abuses of power. 

Members of one community on the South Shore say it will be a major factor on Oct. 19, when they hope Canadians will elect a government that will repeal or modify the law. Prior to its passage, the NDP opposed the bill while the Liberals supported it, but asked for several modifications. 

"This bill is anti-constitutional… and as Muslims, it's worse for us. It's against the Charter of Rights so it will go until the Supreme Court," says Hanadi Saad.

But the Ahmadiyya Muslim community — a sect within Islam considered heretical by mainstream Muslims — is not as categorical in its opposition. 

"In order for us to live in peace and harmony, it would be wrong to overlook some of the problems in society and one of the problems we are finding is security and if the government finds that that is the proper way, that it has to take these measure to find out the terrorists," says Iman Ishaq Fonseca.

"If some people feel they are being targeted, do they have, for lack of better words, something to hide? We certainly don't," says community spokesperson Khalid Butt.