Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Islamic School Shuts Doors over Fear of Backlash Following Allegations

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Islamic School Shuts Doors over Fear of Backlash Following Allegations

Article excerpt

Canadian Islamic school shuts doors over fear of backlash

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TORONTO - The Canadian branch of a controversial Islamic foundation suspended classes over safety concerns Tuesday following a report that four of its former students left Canada to join a terrorist group in Syria.

The Al Huda Institute Canada said it closed its doors after CBC News reported that one woman who attended its religious classes left to support ISIL while three others also left for the country but were intercepted by Turkish authorities and sent back to Canada.

The institute said it first heard about the allegations on Monday night.

"Law enforcement authorities have never brought forward any allegations that four girls associated with the institute travelled to join terrorist organizations," said Imran Haq, the institute's operations manager.

"In addition, the institute has no knowledge as to the identity of these individuals and as such, cannot confirm whether or not they were enrolled in the institute, for how long, or any other related information."

Haq said the institute was "committed" to working with authorities to address the allegations. It's unclear when the former students are alleged to have travelled overseas.

The institute, located in Mississauga, Ont., was first thrust into the spotlight on Monday after it emerged that the woman who carried out last week's mass shooting in California attended one of its affiliate religious schools in Pakistan.

That led the Ontario-based school to publicly distance itself from Tashfeen Malik and her husband, condemn their attack which left 14 people dead and 21 wounded, and emphasize that there was a difference between religious conservatism and extremism.

"Al Huda Institute Canada provides authentic Islamic knowledge which is based on compassion, mercy, and tolerance," Haq said. …

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