Canadian Muslim leaders are condemning the stabbing of two members of Canada’s military on Monday by a man who claimed that he received orders from Allah to kill people.
“It’s a horrible crime that all Canadian Muslims strongly condemn,” said Dr Wael Shehab, Imam of Masjid Toronto. “I, as well as Muslims, wish and pray for the full and quick recovery for the injured soldiers.”
“It’s not accepted for anyone to claim that God or Islam legalizes such inhuman crimes,” added Imam Shehab. “On the contrary, Islam maintains the sacredness of people’s lives, honor, and property.”
The Canadian Council of Imams has also issued a condemnation of the attack.
“The Canadian Council of Imams is deeply shocked by the news of yesterday’s attacks against the Canadian Forces recruitment centre North of Toronto,” said Dr. Mohammad Iqbal AlNadvi, the Chairman of the Canadian Council of Imams. “It is very sad to know that the individual who attacked our on-duty soldiers uttered the word ‘Allah’.
The suspect, 27-year-old Ayanle Hassan Ali, faces nine charges, including three of attempted murder in connection with Monday’s attack.
According to Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders, Ali walked past a master corporal stationed at the door of the military recruitment centre in north Toronto on Monday afternoon and then stabbed him when the soldier tried to stop him.
Authorities said he then stabbed a second military member who tried to arrest him.
Ali also unsuccessfully tried to slash a uniformed female Canadian Armed Forces member.
According to Chief Saunders, Ali said, “Allah told me to do this, Allah told me to come here and kill people,” during the attack.
The two victims were treated in hospital for non-life threatening injuries and have been released.
The Toronto Police Chief was careful about calling the incident an act of terrorism.
He said Toronto Police is working with the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
The 27-year-old born suspect, who was born in Montreal and has lived in Toronto since 2011, appeared in court Tuesday wearing white prison-issued overalls and with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Outside court, Ali’s lawyer, David Burke, told reporters, “This is a very, very serious incident and no one is going to pretend it’s not.
“It’s a very, very difficult situation he finds himself in,” Burke added. “He seems very scared.”
Meanwhile at the Ontario Provincial Legislature, Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi said that, “the safety and security of all Ontarians is our government’s utmost priority.”
“Yesterday’s attack was deeply troubling and I am pleased to hear that the two Canadian Forces members have been released from hospital. I wish them both a speedy recovery,” said Naqvi.
“As you know, there are multiple investigations currently underway into this incident. I understand that the OPP is working in close cooperation with Toronto Police, CSIS, and the RCMP,” he added. “It is important that we allow those investigations to take place, and our government remains committed and steadfast in ensuring the safety and security of Ontarians.”
Dr. Wael Shehab in his statement condemning the attacks affirmed the sanctity of human life in Islam.
“According to Islamic texts, whoever targets even a single innocent man or woman will be as sinful as he or she attacks all people,” stated the Imam. “Islam is the religion of peace and security for all, and true Muslims are peaceful people with all.”
“Violence has no religion,” Dr. Shehab noted. “People should not blame Islam, Muslims or any other faith community for the odd crimes of some individuals who misunderstand the faith’s values and morals.”