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Hizbullah Flag Flies in Toronto

Al-Quds Day rally in Toronto, Canada, marked by sharp anti-Israel messages and raising of the Hizbullah flag.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/9/2011, 12:17 AM

Protesters in Toronto raise Hizbullah flag
Protesters in Toronto raise Hizbullah flag
Israel News photo: Screenshot

The annual Al-Quds Day events were held on August 26, not just in Iran and other Arab/Muslim countries, but in other countries around the world as well.

Al-Quds Day has been marked since 1979, as decided by Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian government, on the last Friday of the Ramadan month in order to express the support of Iran and the Muslim world of Palestinian Authority Arabs and “the liberation of Jerusalem,” to discredit Israel and call for its destruction, and to defy the United States and other western powers.

One of the places in which Al-Quds Day is marked is Toronto, Canada, where the traditional rally marking Al-Quds Day was held on Sunday, August, 28, at Queen’s Park in front of the parliament of Ontario. The rally was attended by hundreds of people and extreme anti-Israel speeches were heard. Zafar Bangash, president of the Islamic Society of York Region, attacked the U.S. and Israel and expressed his belief that Palestine will soon be liberated from the current Jewish-Zionist regime.

Bangash called U.S. President Barack Obama “the black man in the White House,” adding: “He would rather have Americans starve to death, but he cannot say no to the Zionist parasitical state.” Bangash described the U.S. as the source of the existing oppression around the world.

Israel, according to Bangash’s vision, will cease to exist and will be replaced by an Islamic regime. “Allah willing, I see that day when we, the Muslims, will march on Palestine and liberate Palestine for all the people in the world. For the Jewish people, for the Christian people and for the Muslim people, and under Islamic law they will all be living as equal citizens,” he predicted. The crowd responded with “Allah Akbar.”

He further claimed that “Zionism is racism” and that Zionists are “racist, inhuman and barbaric,” referring to Israel’s actions during the 2010 Gaza flotilla. He said that Muslims do not hate Jews and have never persecuted the Jews, as persecution is not part of the Islamic religion and Muslims do not oppress other peoples. “The Koran teaches us that we should treat them with respect because they (the Jews) are the people of the book,” claimed Bangash.

Bangash said, “We will not be intimidated by anybody,” rejecting claims by the Canadian government that criticism against Zionism is anti-Semitism. “We reject this argument,” he said, adding that the accusations that Iran represents an anti-Semitic line are inherently false.

Another speaker at the rally, Maulana Asad Jafri, said that “the Zionist regime sucks the resources, the blood and everything that belongs to people all across the world in order to fulfill its personal needs.” Another young man who spoke at the rally described the state of Israel as a spreading cancer that needs to be eliminated to save the world.

“The first thing it (the cancer) does is that it takes away the resources of all the healthy cells around. It takes them away,” he said. “The second thing that it does is it starts to multiply, and as it multiplies it occupies all the other organs that are serving its function and going along and keeping the body alive. Brothers and sisters, the situation here is not any different. This world is a body, and this body has a cancer, and this cancer is spreading. You heard about what’s happening in the United States. It’s spread to different parts of it. The Palestinians are not the only ones suffering. Remember this brothers and sisters, remember what is the end of that cancerous cell. Either it dies and kills the body or it is given treatment and then it is killed to make sure that the body stays alive.”

During the rally, some of the protesters were waving the flag of the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terror group.

Karin Brothers, a representative of the United Church of Canada, also participated in the rally and expressed her solidarity with the participants. She began her remarks with the traditional Muslim greeting “Salam Aleikum” (peace be upon you) and said, “We are blessed here in Toronto with the most dedicated peace activists who represent many faiths and cultures.”

“I’m very pleased to be here to say a few words,” Brothers said, “and the words are: we need you.”

During the rally, participants called out, “Shame, shame on Israel,” “Shame, shame on the U.S.,” “Netanyahu, you will see Palestine will be free,” “[Canadian Prime Minister Stephen] Harper, you will see Palestine will be free,” and “Long live the Gaza Strip, long live Palestine.” Participants raised Palestinian flags, Bahraini flags (in which the majority of the population is Shiite), and the flag of the terror group Hezbollah.

Tarek Fatah, president of the Muslim Canadian Congress, criticized the rally’s organizers and the messages that were expressed in it. Fatah, who represents the moderate yet relatively small stream in Canada’s Muslim community, accused the speakers during an interview with Sun Media of spreading blood libels and expressed concern for the future of Canada with the increase of extremism in the Canadian Muslim society. He called on the Muslim community to denounce the rally participants and explicitly tell them that they should return to their countries if they want to live under the rule of Islamic law.

Fatah added he was worried about the message implied in the speeches made at the rally, according to which a large Muslim army is forming to liberate Palestine and the entire region. He said that these expressions, that are spoken openly and in the English language, show the confidence of extremist Islamic elements who do not even fear local authorities. Fatah also criticized several Canadian politicians who recently visited mosques in Toronto in an attempt to woo votes from the Muslim community in the upcoming provincial election in Ontario. He noted in this context Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who he claimed recently attended a conference in Toronto put together by the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.