A Senate committee is calling for a certification process for imams, as a way of fighting terrorism in Canada:
“In a report issued Wednesday, the Senate security and defence committee said some foreign-trained imams have been spreading extremist religious ideology and messages that are not in keeping with Canadian values, contributing to radicalization. It calls on the government to work with the provinces and Muslim communities to “investigate the options that are available for the training and certification of imams in Canada.”
“… We are deeply concerned by the suggestion that imams require a special vetting as opposed to any other faith leaders. The criminal code currently includes provisions to deal with anyone suspected of promoting terrorist ideology, and this recommendation really bares the hallmarks of racial and religious discrimination,” [Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims] said…”
Interestingly, no Canadian Evangelical or Fundamentalist leaders have spoken up with concerns. I say “interestingly” because any certification process that governs what imams are able to say, practice and do has the potential to infringe upon their own freedom of belief, conscience and practice at some point. Canada — or at least its judicial system — has had a habit of treating religions on an equal playing field, of late.
Indeed, as David Climenhaga points out, extremism in Canada hasn’t always been Muslim:
“This long line of foreign trained extremist clerics weren’t Muslim, as it happened. They were, you know … Christian. But, whatever …”
One would think that Jewish groups, Mormons, and other religious organizations might want to take issue with the idea, too, considering how subjective a certification process based on “values” could be.
On the plus side, the Canadian government isn’t keen on the proposal. Especially in an election year.