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B’nai Brith Urges Universities to Stop Antisemitic Islamist’s Speaking Tour

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Abu Taymiyyah (YouTube)

July 11, 2023

TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada is urging Canadian universities to cancel scheduled speaking engagements featuring an antisemitic Islamist extremist.

Abu Taymiyyah is a Yemeni-born British national known for his anti-Christian, anti-Western tirades, and his criticism of mainstream Muslims interested in pursuing interreligious harmony with others of Abrahamic faiths. He has said that adopting Western clothing makes one a “disbeliever,” and that dancing or listening to music is “haram” (forbidden).

Taymiyyah has also advanced a conspiracy theory about Jewish “envy” for other communities, alleging Jewish people seek to convert Muslims to another faith.

Despite his radical history, multiple Muslim student groups across the country have either given him a pulpit on their campuses or plan to do so. He will appear in Ontario this week at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and the University of Waterloo.

B’nai Brith has asked these schools to enforce their anti-discrimination policies, which provide the schools’ administrators with the authority to prevent hatemongers like Taymiyyah from lecturing to students on their premises. His appearance risks threatening Jewish students’ safety – notably at TMU, where a pro-Israel club was forced to cancel an event involving a former Israel Defence Forces (IDF) colonel following security concerns last March.

“We worry when we find out that student groups have invited and are promoting a foreign natural with such extreme anti-Canadian viewpoints,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith’s Chief Executive Officer. “We expect better from our universities than allowing guest speakers to platform this kind of radicalism.

“This only creates unwarranted hostility, animosity, and disconnect amongst diverse students on campuses. It is not too late for Ontario’s universities to do the right thing and cancel Taymiyyah’s speaking engagements on campus.”

Mostyn also suggested that universities ought to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism to prevent future hate and radicalization on campus.

In October 2019, B’nai Brith argued in defense of an Ontario government policy that would have allowed post-secondary students to opt out of non-essential supplemental fees when paying tuition. Unfortunately, an Ontario court struck down the provincial government’s Student Choice Initiative, which made the payment of “ancillary” student fees optional, arguing that the policy goes beyond the province’s jurisdiction.
After B’nai Brith’s advocacy, the University of Toronto has been withholding funding on an annual basis from the Graduate Student’s Union (GSU). These fees, withheld in a precedent-setting development by the U of T last year, will remain frozen until the GSU addresses issues of antisemitism related to its endorsement of the controversial boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) movement, as identified by Provost Cheryl Regehr in her decision letter last year.