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An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Some Recent Developments (Part One)

June 15, 2019

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 20.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Sixteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: June 15, 2019

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,461

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy is the Founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and the Founder of the Muslims Against Terrorism. He discusses: recent events; similar instances; having difficult conversations; concerns of some Canadian Muslims; and seeing Muslims as Arab and as a bloc.

Keywords: Imam Soharwardy, Islam, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, Muslims Against Terrorism, Sufi.

An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Some Recent Developments: Founder, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada; Founder, Muslims Against Terrorism (Part One)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: There was a recent event. It provides an insight into the dynamics of the community. What happened there?

Imam Syed Soharwardy: The imam regarding the Merry Christmas thing. This imam is not part of our organization. He was claiming that saying Merry Christmas to anyone – Christian, Muslim – that it was equivalent to or worse than murder.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Soharwardy: That was a very foolish and ignorant statement made by this person. I have no clue. His statements were absolutely un-Islamic in my opinion and calling “Merry Christman” to Christians or anybody is not equal to murder.

It is not in the Quran or in Sharia. There is no such thing. This is why I condemned it. I challenged him by the way, if he had the guts to come and talk to me face to face. I had the chance to talk to this guy and prove him wrong.

2. Jacobsen: What are some similar instances of things like that in Canada?

Soharwardy: There are people in the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and atheist community who just take an extreme path and do not take disagreements, take diversity, do not accept difference of opinion.

Those people exist in all communities, including Muslim communities. There are Muslims who say you can not be with Jews and Christians. They misinterpret the verses of the Quran. Muslims have been directed in our scriptures to other Jews and Christians and other faith groups.

Those verses in the Quran have to be taken in a specific context. It cannot be generalized for all Jews, all Christians, and all people of non-faith. There are others who say Muslims cannot celebrate Christmas. But they are already a minority.

There are Muslim scholars from around the world, especially Egypt, Bolivia, and Pakistan, and Canada and the United States who see Christmas as perfectly allowed. It is normal. There is no such thing as not practicing Christmas in Islam. There may be extremists who will disagree with them.

They disagree with us. We disagree with them.

3. Jacobsen: If you were to sit down and converse with someone making essentially something out of nothing, how would you go about inviting them to the conversation? How has that conversation played out in the past?

Soharwardy: I don’t want to debate with anyone for the sake of having a debate. I want to have a fruitful, logical, and so on, debate and dialogue. I don’t have time to waste on moving someone along or somebody moving me along. We can disagree. From what I studied, from what I have learned about my faith, my Islam is common sense, natural, normal way of life.

People do abuse Islam, do abuse the Quran, and do abuse our Prophet’s (pbuh) teachings. It is my obligation as a Muslim to counter them and to refute their interpretation of my faith. I do not want to get into a useless debate.

I am happy to visit anyone. But definitely, it has to be a meaningful and thoughtful, and special dialogue, to learn from one another. If someone has a bad understanding of Islam, I want to teach them, who is rational and will learn – not simply being arrogant and denying all that Quran or Islamic teaching says.

4. Jacobsen: If we expand the question or line of questioning to broader community issues, what are some of the concerns of Muslim communities in Canada insofar as you have found them based on conversations around the country?

Soharwardy: The biggest issue, which we see right now, is not only in Canada, but in the United States and in Europe. I think it is a worldwide problem. The lies of racism, discrimination, and violence.

Muslims in Canada definitely are sensitive about Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment. As you know, there were the latest attacks of law enforcement in Malaysia of a huge increase against Muslims in Canada as well as anti-semitism on the rise and Islamophobia on the rise. Those movements are a huge concern, not only for Muslims for also for a majority of Canadians. That is a concern.

I think the Muslims in Canada have a concern around the issue of what is happening south of the border and its impacts on Canada, in Calgary and elsewhere, and the relations of Canada to China.

It is not just the Muslim community. I say the Muslim community because most people are immigrants, don’t have jobs, and are struggling. This is more impactful compared to those who have been here for five generations.

There are violence and hate. There are global issues of these trade wars, which are a major concern at this time.

5. Jacobsen: Is part of the issue, in this country and elsewhere, the notion of Muslims as a bloc, simply being of Arab ethnic background?

Soharwardy: The overwhelming majority of Muslims are immigrants or ethnic people from the Middle East, South Asia, or Africa. That would be a visible minority regardless of the country of origin.

Muslims have been seen by mainstream Canadians as a block, whether black, brown, or white Muslims. Definitely, it causes a major concern on the part of the people who see that there is a, in a political arena, weight that the Muslims are gaining in Canada. It is maybe 1.2, or 1.3, million Muslims in Canada.

It is good for Canada. Definitely, for Muslims, can cause some reason for concern because Muslims are not going to budge with the discrimination that we’re facing. We are going to stand up against racism, against anybody.

I stand up against violence. I stand up against the anti-Muslims, against the anti-Christians, and so on. The people of faith stand together to fight hatred and violence that is coming at us.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada; Founder, Muslims Against Terrorism.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 15, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/syed-soharwardy-one; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Some Recent Developments (Part One) [Online].June 2019; 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/syed-soharwardy-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, June 15). An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Some Recent Developments (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/syed-soharwardy-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Some Recent Developments (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A, June. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/syed-soharwardy-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Some Recent Developments (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/syed-soharwardy-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Some Recent Developments (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A (June 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/syed-soharwardy-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Some Recent Developments (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/syed-soharwardy-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Some Recent Developments (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/syed-soharwardy-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Some Recent Developments (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 20.A (2019):June. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/syed-soharwardy-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Some Recent Developments (Part One) [Internet]. (2019, June 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/syed-soharwardy-one.

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Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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