Canada is more tolerant of immigrants than Europe and less afraid of terrorist attacks than the United States, meaning it could be a model for faithful Muslims trying to integrate into Western society, a controversial Islamic scholar says. Tariq Ramadan has two reservations: Canada must stop thinking of itself as peripheral to the debate and it must not knuckle under to U.S. policies. Ramadan spoke to CanWest News Service from his office in London, England, just before leaving for Ottawa, where he will speak to the Islamic Society of North America conference this weekend. About 3,000 Muslims from across Canada and around the world are expected at the event. Ramadan will be speaking with Ingrid Mattson, the first female and first Canadian to become president of the society. The worst thing the Muslim community can do, he says, is isolate itself from the society around it, making itself a ghetto. “We are living in a state of fear, on both sides. You need to promote what I call a revolution of trust.” Public policy gets warped by this mistrust until “it’s all about control and security. It’s wrong. (Muslims) are citizens, they have the same rights.” He said the community needs to pool its leaders in all faiths and walks of life, so co-operation is already established before a crisis erupts.
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