Sask. Muslim communities working to prevent radicalization

Groups representing Muslims in Saskatchewan are now reaching out and working with the RCMP and Regina Police Service to dispel misconceptions about their faith.

No evidence of radicalization in province say RCMP and Islamic Association

Shahina Siddiqui of the Islamic Social Services Association is joined by members of the RCMP on Monday's panel discussion. (CBC News)

RCMP say there isn't evidence of radicalization efforts from extremist groups towards the Muslim community in Saskatchewan. 

But leaders are already taking steps to combat possible radicalization, particularly when it comes to young Muslims. 

Groups such as the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan and Islamic Social Services Association joined the RCMP and Regina Police Service in a panel discussion on Monday.

In addition to talking about preventing extremist ideologies from getting a foothold in Saskatchewan, the goal of the panel was to open up a dialogue between people of the Islamic faith, authorities and the general public to dispel misconceptions about their faith. 

Shahina Siddiqui, the founder of the Islamic Social Services Association, said the threat of radicalization of the next generation needs to be stopped. 

We cannot afford to lose another Canadian child to these extremists- Shahina Siddiqui, Islamic Social Services Association

"You need people that are trained in counselling to help these families and help these youth and deprogram and deradicalize them," Siddiqui said. 

"This is very serious. We cannot afford to lose another Canadian child to these extremists."

Siddiqui also said extremist organizations like ISIS use the guise of religion as a method to radicalize young minds but that people who "become terrorists were sucked in by the ideologies and have gone abroad were not necessarily religious to begin with."

Munir Haque, the President of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan said educating the general public is also crucial. 

"It might be one person at a time. But it has to be one person at a time, as we get involved with the larger community," Haque said.

The RCMP said a two-way dialogue is needed in order to build trust between law enforcement and the Muslim community. 


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