Canadian imam likens ban of Muslim headscarf at public ceremonies to Nazis’ discrimation of Jews

Canadian imam likens ban of Muslim headscarf at public ceremonies to Nazis’ discrimation of Jews

 

15 December 2011

Imam Syed Soharwardy of Calgary, Alberta, last week likened Canada’s new policy of banning Islamic face veils at citizenship ceremonies to what Jews faced in the 1930s in Germany. „Muslims are going through that situation right now where the Jews faced before the Holocaust. Because intimidation of their faith, badmouthing about their faith, badmouthing about their book, badmouthing about their beliefs – that was going on in Germany before the Holocaust. The same thing is happening now about Muslims,” Soharwardy, who is the president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, told the network CTV.

„We categorically reject his comparison with the society of today and pre-war Germany,” said Jeffrey Smith of the Calgary Jewish Community Council. „It is factually wrong and insensitive. If you start to compare the Canadian government’s policies with Nazi policies it is unwarranted, misleading and hurtful,” he was quoted by JTA as saying.

However, a day after his remarks, the imam added to them: „What is happening across North America is quite alarming because there are people who create hate against Muslims and then the government gives them ammunition. This is what started hate against Jews.”

Soharwardy said he had tried to forge links with the city’s Jewish community, to which Smith said „he has at times reached out – I think it is genuine.” The imam’s comments came a few days after Ottawa announced a ban on niqabs, burkas and other face-coverings at citizenship ceremonies.