Canadian Jewish org concerned by extremist speaker at conference

Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs concerned about speaker at upcoming Muslim youth conference who was banned by Belgium and Italy.

Dan Verbin ,

Toronto
Toronto
iStock

A leading Canadian Jews advocacy organization expressed concern on Thursday over an upcoming Muslim youth conference featuring a controversial speaker who was banned by Belgium in 2014 for “unacceptable anti-Semitic beliefs” and being a “threat to public order.”

The Muslim Student Leadership conference, organized by the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) and taking place from August 6-8, includes a speech by Tareq Al-Suwaidan, who the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) described as a “notorious extremist preacher affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

CIJA noted that Al-Suwaidan is the author of the “Jewish Encyclopedia,” a book that contains Holocaust denial and describes Jews as “the most hostile enemies of the Muslim nation.”

They also pointed to past inflammatory statements made by Al-Suwaidan, including stating, “All the mothers of the Islamic nation … should suckle their babies on the hatred of the sons of Zion. We hate them. They are our enemies” and “We hate them. They are our enemies. We should instill this in the souls of our children until a new generation rises and wipes them off the face of the earth.“

Based on his history of extreme statements, Al-Suwaidan was banned banned from Belgium and Italy.

“It is shocking that any organization, especially a registered charity in Canada, would give a platform to those promoting a genocidal form of anti-Semitism,” said CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel. “Worse, the program in which Al-Suwaidan is scheduled to speak targets young Canadians under the guise of ‘social impact.’"

At a time when rising hate crimes are occurring against Jews and other minorities in Canada, Fogel said that “we need initiatives that bring young people together, not a preacher who promotes extreme hate and incites religious violence.”

“We urge the Muslim Association of Canada to examine the track record of speakers they continue to platform, and determine whether they reflect the organization’s values,” Fogel said.

“We are also calling on the Government of Canada to review their granting process to ensure that organizations receiving funding to combat racism are not themselves in need of anti-racism training.”



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