Muslims hope PM can quash extremism
UPDATED: 2006-06-12 02:08:23 MST


By CP

TORONTO -- Some Muslim leaders used a closed-door meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call on the federal government to help curb extremism in their community.

And participants expressed renewed concern the Muslim community at large is being associated with 17 people from the Toronto area alleged last week to have plotted terrorist attacks.

Adam Esse, president of the Coalition of Muslim Organizations, said he asked the prime minister at the Saturday session to "stand with his own citizens ... Canadian Muslims," and assure them protection from any backlash.

Harper addressed those concerns, saying the government will draw a "clear line" between criminal elements and the vast majority of peaceful Canadian Muslims, said Uyghur Canadian Association president Mohamed Tohti.

Participants say the prime minister took detailed notes and assured the group of about 15 he recognized the concerns of their community.

Tarek Fatah, spokesman for the Muslim Canadian Congress, said Muslims from the conservative right to the secular left were in attendance.

He described it as a "healthy mix" of academics, activists, authors and imams.

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