Edmontonians may have thought their community immune to the spectre of radical Islam. And there may have even been what passes for good reason to think so. By now most Edmontonians likely know more than a few Muslims, and know them for precisely what most of them -- this author would posit, hopefully, the vast majority of them -- for what they are: peace-loving, freedom loving Canadians. People who represent the true virtues of being Canadian as well as any other Canadian.
But Edmontonians should also be aware that there are some among them who, it seems, do not share those values. Even in Edmonton. The following is a transcript of a sermon delivered by Sheikh Shaban Sherif Mady in a local mosque. The sermon was given in August:
"Our Islamic nation has been defeated through treachery. The only thing left for the Arabs is the Egyptian army. So a conspiracy was hatched by that Al-Sisi, whose mother was a Moroccan Jew called Malika. She came to Egypt and received Egyptian citizenship.
It is well known in all countries that one cannot join the armed forces, the intelligence agencies, or the police if one's father or mother is not a Muslim, or is not from that country that wants to protect its children. According to Egyptian law, a person is forbidden to join the Egyptian army if his mother is of non-Muslim or non-Egyptian origin. So how did that happen?
Our blood has become cheap – the cheapest in the world. By Allah, anyone who witnessed the tragedy [of the dispersal of the sit-in] might have thought this was the Holocaust. Hitler killed the Jews, but Hitler of Egypt kills Egyptians. He burned the dead, along with the wounded.
We are suffering, my friends. Our Islamic nation is suffering. The greatest Arab Muslim country and the strongest Arab army have been chosen to serve as an example for the humiliation of all the Muslims and Arabs, so that secularism and global Zionism can gain hegemony over them, and can choose from among them the traitors who will carry out orders, and promote their enterprises of taking over the region. I was confounded by [the Saudi king], the Traitor of the Two Holy Places. If the hajj pilgrimage can only be performed by means of those traitors, the Saud clan, the sons of Jews, we should refrain from performing it.
At the protests [in Egypt], we saw men who love and desire death. They smiled when the bullets hit their bare chests. They spared no effort to move onward and onward. Mothers ululated out of joy when their sons achieved martyrdom. Fathers were steadfast, saying: 'I have more sons, and I [will be martyred] even before them.'
Oh Christians of Egypt, why did you do this to yourself? The security services who killed you in the days of Mubarak are ruling today. They are the ones who are burning down your churches. They are the ones who are killing the Copts. Why, [Coptic Pope] Tawadros? Don't you know that you, who sparked the fire of civil strife, will be the first to be burned by it? Why did you do this to yourself? Why did you violate the words of Jesus: 'Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right check, turn to him the other too'
Oh Tawadros, why did you violate the words of the Holy Book about love? Where is this love? Your churches are full of weapons, and you have become the vanguard of the so-called 'Egyptian security service.' You are the ones who are doing the killing on their behalf? Why are you doing this to yourselves? The fire will burn you!"
Coptic Christians have been experiencing terrible persecution in Egypt. One would presume that if their Churches were really full of weapons, as Mady insists, that they would have made some move to forcefully defend themselves by now. But, instead: nothing.
Amidst the violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt, there does seem to be cause for hope. Muslims and Christians are coming together in Egypt, hopefully to form a political consensus that respects religious liberty. Time will tell if that is successful.
In Edmonton, the comments of Sheikh Shaban Sherif Mady are cause for concern, and for wariness. That being said, they're not necessarily cause for alarm, or even for pessimism. This author remains convinced that Sheikh Sherif is among the minority in the Muslim community of Edmonton.
That being said, he is clearly an individual of some status, and likely even a person of influence. Peace-loving and freedom-loving Muslims in Edmonton need to know they are supported by the community at large. Those who may not fit this description also need to be aware that their neighbours are paying attention to what they are saying, and what they are doing, particularly if they say or do it in public.