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Author Topic: Edmonton imam jailed, reportedly beaten at hajj  (Read 367 times)
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I heart the Madina

« on: Oct 30, 2011 09:46 PM »

Not good.... I'm not surprised though... if the religious police thought the Imam and followers were committing some kind of bid'ah there..........(He's also Shi'a from what I understand) I hope this does not marr this year's Hajj.

Edmonton imam jailed, reportedly beaten at hajj
Saudi religious police detain cleric in Medina during Muslim pilgrimage
CBC News

An imam from Canada is under arrest in Saudi Arabia after he was attacked by a mob and beaten while attending hajj, according to witnesses.

Witnesses say Usama Al-Atar was beaten and kicked by men summoned by Saudi religious police before his arrest.Witnesses say Usama Al-Atar was beaten and kicked by men summoned by Saudi religious police before his arrest.

The attack took place at a cemetery in Medina early Sunday morning and was reportedly sparked when religious police approached an international group of pilgrims that included the imam, Usama Al-Atar of Edmonton.

Witnesses said angry words were spoken, then things calmed down. That's when a single member of the religious police approached Al-Atar, offered to shake his hand and then called out to a group of men at a taxi stand.

They rushed in and began beating Al-Atar, kicking him and attempting to throttle him, the witnesses said.

Medina central police arrived, escorted the Canadian to a car and drove away, according to the witnesses.

Several witnesses said the attack was unprovoked, CBC journalist Muhammad Lila wrote on his Twitter page.

It's not clear whether others in the group of international pilgrims, which included Canadians and Britons, were injured. Members of the group have contacted the British Embassy and were told the British would contact Canadian authorities.

The Foreign Affairs Department issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying it was aware of Al-Atar's arrest and would provide consular assistance.

It's believed Al-Atar, who has a PhD in chemistry and is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Alberta, has been charged with assault. Saudi police have not confirmed this, however.

The annual Muslim pilgrimage, known as hajj, is a pillar of the Islamic faith and draws millions of participants to Saudi Arabia. The main sites are in Mecca, but some pilgrims travel to Medina as well.

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