The Islamic State, or ISIS, is actively recruiting in Canada, an Imam known for his pacifist sermons said on Friday, alleging that one its members had issued a death threat against him.
Syed Soharwardy, the Founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada or ISCC, appealed to Canadian and Western authorities to take on the jihadist movements more aggressively.
"Absolutely I am convinced that this recruitment is going on right here in this country, under our noses, in our universities, in our colleges, in the places of worship, in our community," Soharwardy told CBC public television, according to an AFP report.
Soharwardy said that a Canadian Muslim from Ottawa who is in Mosul, Iraq and fights for the Islamic State made a death threat against the Canadian Imam on Facebook. "He was condemning me for condemning ISIS, and he was saying that 'You are a deviant Imam and your version of Islam is not the right version.,’” Soharwardy said.
The Imam, who is based in Calgary, said that this is not the first threat he has received against his life. "I get death threats from everybody," he said, adding: "just last month I had a death threat posted on a website."
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Canadian Intelligence services had said in February that there were at least 150 Canadian Muslims fighting in Iraq and Syria. "Three Calgarian young fellows died in Iraq and Syria fighting for ISIS. One of them was very known to me," Soharwardy said adding: "These people are brainwashing people here in this country."
Soharwardy held a 48-hour hunger strike "to create awareness about the dangerous nature of ISIS" and pay homage to James Foley, the American journalist who was beheaded by his jihadist captors in a video release Tuesday by the Islamic State.
In June, the Islamic State declared a caliphate in the region that now extends to vast swathes of territory in northern Iraq and Syria and is fighting US-backed Kurdish and Iraqi forces in the region.