The leader of one of Ottawa’s largest mosques says he’s concerned about the spike in the number of young men who have wanted convert to Islam since October’s terrorist attack in the nation’s capital.
Samy Metwally, the imam at the Ottawa Mosque, said Wednesday that 15 to 20 men between the ages of 20 and 30 have come to him to convert since the Oct. 22 attack in which convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.
Metwally said the number of potential converts since the attack is the highest he’s ever seen in Ottawa.
Metwally said that although he questions the intentions of some of the men, he doesn’t turn them away. Instead, he spends time with each of them to explain the teachings of Islam before they convert. What worries Metwally is when potential converts come to the mosque once but never return.
Potential converts are most vulnerable to radicalization when they first decide to convert to Islam, Metwally said. They can be manipulated by a radicalized person or become persuaded by misinformation on the Internet.
“The vast, vast majority of new converts, we have never seen them before and then we never see them again,” Metwally said. “They disappear and they never come again. This is a big concern. We are concerned about who they are getting information from...Yeah, you wouldn't want 'em to read this, for example.