Prime Minister Harper is praising members of Canada's Muslim community for condemning the attacks that killed two soldiers this year.

Harper told a Toronto-area Muslim event last night that non-Muslim Canadians needed to hear from their Muslim neighbours that Islam is a force for peace and not something to be feared.

It's believed to be Harper's first public words of support for Canadian Muslims following the attacks.

Warrant Officer Patrick Vincent died when he and another soldier were run down in Quebec by a man harbouring jihadist sympathies.

Two days later, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot dead by a gunman in Ottawa who then went on to open fire in the halls of Parliament before being killed.

In both cases, the killers were Canadians with an alleged history of drug addiction, mental illness and admiration for extremist Islamic terrorists.

Some Muslims criticized Harper for not publicly stating his support for Canadian Muslims in the wake of the attacks.