Paris attacks condemned by Muslims in Saskatoon
Muslims in Saskatoon address terrorist attacks in Paris
Members of the Islamic community in Saskatoon are condemning the attacks which took place in Paris on Friday.
"Saskatoon Muslims send our thoughts and prayers to the people of France, to those injured, the families and friends of the victims, the first responders and security officials," a statement from the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan said.
"We know this atrocity affects everyone in France and they have a big Muslim population," Abdullah Patel, a spokesperson for the association added in an interview with CBC News Saturday. "We pray for all of them involved, Muslim and non-Muslim alike."
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A series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular nightspots killed at least 120 people in the deadliest violence to strike France since the Second World War. More than 200 were injured in at least six separate attacks around the capital on Friday evening.
"Canadian Muslims are outraged at the horrendous events in Paris yesterday," the Saskatchewan group added in their statement. "We share in the grief felt globally. There is no justification for any acts of violent extremism and terrorism wherever and whenever they occur."
The statement added to the voices of many in Saskatchewan and around the world who have spoken out about the attacks.
Message is important
Patel noted that people in Canada know that violent groups are not true reflections of the religion but their association still felt it was important to issue a statement about the attacks.
"It's mainly to distance ourselves from this type of extremism and violent atrocities that happen in the name of religion," Patel said. "It's not part of our religion and part of our value system."
Patel emphasized that Muslims in Canada share many values with their fellow citizens.
"As Canadian Muslims, we share in the Canadian value system, we share in the Canadian humanitarian values and we'd like our fellow Canadians to know that," he said. "We are humanitarian, we are peaceful and we hope to be a betterment for society as a whole."
The association was also concerned about the involvement of groups such as ISIS.
"We feel like they've hijacked Islam for their own cowardly agenda," Patel said.
Nabil Asfour, a youth director with the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan, expressed similar sentiments.
"We call on all our fellow Canadians to hopefully not judge us on the acts of these odd people that claim that they are part of this religion, Islam," Asfour told CBC News Saturday. "Islam is the farthest away from what they claim."
Asfour also believes it was important to provide a statement following the attacks.
"When these crazy fanatics that do these actions — regardless of which faith they belong to — they just reflect a bad image," he said. "Regardless of whoever did this, if they did it in a name of any religion, it's totally atrocious, totally unjustified and inhuman, if we can call it that. And the unfortunate part is innocent people are lost, and it just puts everyone in a state of anxiety and unease."