The Baitul Islam mosque has no connection whatsoever to a questionable study linking Canadian mosques to extremism.
By Kathy English for the Toronto Star
The Baitul Islam Mosque in Vaughan serves as Canadian headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama, an international Muslim community known worldwide for its motto, “Love for All, Hatred for None” and for its devotion to universal brotherhood.
This Muslim community is highly regarded throughout the world for sharing its message of peace, tolerance and universal human rights, and for its longtime strong and vocal rejection of terrorism, and specifically, in recent years, the terrorism of Daesh (ISIS).
Given these values, members of the Toronto-area mosque were quite rightly “deeply troubled” this week to see a photo of their mosque published on the Star’s website alongside a report by The Canadian Press about a study contending that “many” mosques and Islamic schools in Canada “are filled with extremist literature.”
While the photo was removed within a few hours of being posted online, this was a bad mistake on the Star’s part and we have spent considerable time here this week determining what went wrong.
The Baitul Islam Mosque has no connection whatsoever to the content of the study — which has itself come under question — so the image of this specific mosque should never have been linked to this article. As I later learned, no Toronto-area mosque whatsoever was part of this study. The study’s authors reached their conclusions following visits to four mosques and three Islamic schools in the Ottawa area.
Compounding the error in photo selection, the Star’s photo caption named this Vaughan mosque in referring to the study, thereby further wrongly linking Baitul Islam Mosque to a questionable study claiming extremist literature in Canadian mosques. The findings of the study have since been strongly rejected by the Canadian Council of Imams.
“It is very upsetting for the members of the community to see the image of their highly regarded and internationally respected mosque negligently used as a stock image,” Safwan Choudhry, director of communication for Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada said in an email to the Star Monday night shortly after the article and photo were published.