Some Guidelines for Canadian Muslims by The Canadian Islamic Congress, October 7, 2005.
In these post 9/11 and 7/7 times, we Canadian Muslims are living in a difficult and dangerous period of history. We must be aware of how to protect ourselves, our children and our institutions. We must learn together to be safe, rather than sorry.
For all to Remember
- Some misguided Muslims may try to recruit Canadian Muslims, especially our young people, and use them to commit crimes against our country, or abroad.
- Others outside the Canadian Muslim community might commit a crime and try to blame it on Muslims.
- Canadian Muslims themselves, or their Mosques and other institutions, such as schools and cemeteries, could become targets for hate crime.
- Know those with whom your teens associate, as well as the websites they frequent. Make time regularly to discuss with teens their political views, as well as watching out for their membership in foreign political associations, or the influence of foreign ideologies. Instead, encourage teen boys and girls to participate in Canadian discussion groups at their schools or universities. Insist on them being up front and transparent in their involvement with any cause. Advise your teens not to allow anyone to talk them into doing any secret activities, or to send anonymous insulting emails to anyone; such practices are wholly un-Islamic.
- Explain to all children old enough to understand that in Canada dissenting voices are acceptable and that individuals can make a difference by knowing the issues and communicating them to politicians. If your sons or daughters are eligible to vote, encourage them to research the running parties and support the best candidates. This is the traditional Islamic way.
- If your young people are approached by law-enforcement authorities (or those posing as such) and/or are wrongfully accused of any crimes, contact your lawyer immediately. If you are travelling with your children, ensure that you sit with them. If older children must travel alone, go through an essential checklist prior to the trip, including issues such as: do not talk to strangers, carry packages for them, etc. Also, familiarize yourself and your young-adult children with standard government checklists for young travellers, regarding the transportation and possession of drugs and other banned items.
- Be aware of any excessive preoccupation with religious rituals by your children, or other unusual behaviors, including signs that might indicate clinical depression or anxiety. If you suspect the latter, contact a professional social worker or therapist without delay.
- Share your wisdom, experience and concerns with other CIC members, especially Muslim parents whose children are of similar ages to your own. Networking and solidarity can be strong defenses against pressures that so often attack the young. With the help of your input, CIC will regularly update these guidelines. Email us at email@example.com
To administrators of Mosques and other Islamic institutions
- If you have not already done so, establish a security committee responsible for both the physical security of your buildings and for the protection of your congregation from infiltration (overt or covert), by foreign Muslim groups who may have hidden agendas.
- Contact the most reputable and trusted security company in your area to install 24/7 digital (and preferably monitored) security cameras that cover all of the premises. Ensure that any such company has the contract to fully secure, and maintain security, for your buildings. Do not hire amateurs to do it.
- Use digital keys throughout your buildings to record who opens and closes the premises, and when.
- Be wary of any strangers appearing among your congregations and wait at least two years before allowing them to take on responsibilities such as teaching, preaching, etc.
- Appoint for your association an experienced local lawyer on retainer who thoroughly knows and understands the challenges facing Canadian Muslims.
- Never talk to any authorities (or those posing as authorities) alone. Always have witnesses (if necessary, your lawyer) present, and ensure that someone is making at least a written record of any meetings. If audio or video recording is allowed, ask your lawyer for advice and do it in the open.
- Do not allow any stranger or newcomer to be alone in your buildings. This also includes any overnight stays for worshiping, unless you know everyone involved. A mosque is not a hotel.
- The Islamic character of being trusting, friendly and caring must be balanced by a necessary level of vigilance and healthy suspicion. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
- Preach that hate speech is not only a crime in Canada, but morally unIslamic; however, dissenting voices are both acceptable and needed in Canada. Working for causes like social justice at home and peace with justice around the world, for Muslims and non- Muslims alike, are all Divinely rewarded activities. Muslims should do their best, and pray to the Almighty to do the rest.
- Share your wisdom in your congregations and with other Canadian Muslims. CIC will regularly update these guidelines. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To Canadian Muslims
Use guidelines similar to those above to protect your home, family, property, and vehicles. As well,
- Do not invite strangers into your home -- especially if you are alone.
- Do not take any package, anywhere, for any stranger regardless of how innocent the request might seem.
- For those who are involved in community work, including all positions of leadership and responsibility, continually ensure that everything you say and do is transparent and fully documented.
- Be alert at all times, whether at home, at work, travelling, or vacationing.
- If anyone offers you a free trip, or any expensive gifts and/or privileges, be very, very cautious. If it looks too good to be true, it most likely is.
- Protect your home with a reputable alarm system, and outside lights. Always lock all vehicles properly and check them regularly (trunks, under the hood, below the car, etc.); make sure you are not carrying a "surprise" package.
- Join your local Muslim community centre. This will help you to feel less vulnerable.
- Email us at email@example.com with your suggestions to update our guidelines.
May the Almighty Protector protect us, our families, our country, and all humanity. Amen.