25 June 2017

Philippe Couillard’s tone shift on Islam stuns Quebec Muslims

The Quebec Premier’s sudden shift linking “Islam in general” to terror and urging Quebec Muslims to do more to combat violent extremism has baffled security and political experts alike.

After years of warning Quebeckers against “creating an amalgam” between acts of Islamist terror and the wider Muslim community – and for a long time even avoiding the use any variation of the word “Islamist” in connection with terror – Philippe Couillard emerged last week with a dramatic break. After a 49-year-old Quebecker allegedly shouting an Islamic phrase was accused of stabbing a police officer in Michigan, Mr. Couillard said, “You cannot disconnect this type of event, terrorism, from Islam in general.”

A half-dozen leaders of Quebec’s Muslim communities, who long considered the Premier an ally, said they were stunned at the turnaround. “Politicians who speak this way are telling terrorists they’re right to claim some religious basis for what they are doing,” said Salam Elmenyawi, head of the Muslim Council of Montreal. The city’s Muslim leaders invited Mr. Couillard to feast with them Sunday to mark the end of the Ramadan holy month of fasting. He did not attend. [The Globe and Mail] Read more