The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) on Wednesday urged the Toronto Police to charge a local imam with hate speech.
The request comes in light of the recent charge by the Montreal Police Hate Crimes Unit against a local imam over willful promotion of hatred against Jews,
The Toronto cleric in question is Maulana Syed Mohammad Zaki Baqri of The Council of Islamic Guidance and Resident Alim of the Al Mahdi Centre, FSWC said in a statement.
On June 27, FSWC filed a hate speech complaint with Toronto Police Hate Crimes Unit against Imam Baqri after his speech on June 24, 2017 at an Al-Quds Day rally.
In his speech, Baqri allegedly said the following, "Israel, Zionism, should and must know (speaking Arabic)... It is the law that whoever oppresses, he has to be eliminated. One day or the other."
In a letter to Ontario's Attorney General, Yasir Naqvi, FSWC expressed its belief that Baqri's speech violates sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code – Advocating Genocide and Public Incitement of Hatred.
Section 318 states that "Every one who advocates or promotes genocide is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years." Section 319 states that "Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against an identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of a) an indictable offense and is liable to imprisonment... b) an offense punishable on summary conviction."
Al-Quds Day is an Iranian sponsored holiday which is marked on the final day of Ramadan, and is generally used to incite against Israelis and Jews.
In the past, speakers at Al-Quds Day rallies have also threatened to shoot Jews and last year, a school teacher was temporarily suspended from her board of education after inciting violence, noted FSWC.
“The vilification of Jewish Canadians and Israel on Toronto’s streets is very frightening, and especially harmful to all the children that attended Al-Quds Day who are being taught to hate Jewish people from such an early age,” added the organization.
“As Canadians, FSWC hopes that we can all come together to find ways to promote co-existence, peace and good citizenship. In an effort to pave the path to tolerance, FSWC has invested very heavily in programs like the Tour for Humanity, Freedom Day, Speakers Idol and Compassion to Action. These programs bridge communities as well as open dialogue between communities,” it said.