May 11, 2021
TORONTO – An Ontario Muslim cleric with a history of controversial remarks has accused Canadian elected officials of serving Israel rather than Canada.
Sheikh Shafiq Hudda made the remarks during Saturday’s online al-Quds Day event, amidst a weekend of rising tensions and political unrest in Jerusalem. All of these developments have B’nai Brith Canada and many other Canadians deeply concerned and calling for de-escalation and a peaceful resolution to the issues in question. All Canadians who care about the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians are encouraged to join us in this call.
Al-Quds Day, created by Iranian dictator Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, calls for the complete elimination of Israel as a Jewish state, and al-Quds Day events in Canada have been a constant source of antisemitic agitation. At last year’s iteration, a speaker described all Israelis as “thieves and murderers.” In 2013 and 2016, speakers called for Israelis to be shot, and in 2014, a Muslim cleric called for “Yahoodi” (Arabic for “Jewish”) to be “dismantled.”
Hudda, of the Islamic Humanitarian Service in Kitchener, Ont., delivered a lengthy tirade against supposed “Zionist lobby” influence in Western countries, at one point stating:
“Even here in Canada, we have got politicians and we have got senators, we have got political leaders and political officials who are more dedicated to the State of Israel. Why? They get their fulus [Arabic for ‘money’], they get their funding, they get their campaign donations from these elements and these lobby groups. So they don’t even care about their own country of Canada.”
Earlier in Saturday’s proceedings, Hudda also suggested that Germany should stop paying reparations to Holocaust survivors on account of Israel’s alleged misdeeds.
At the 2018 Canadian al-Quds Day event, Hudda called for the “eradication” of Israelis, prompting stern condemnations from MPs and senators. Ontario MP Marwan Tabbara and Alberta MLA Rod Loyola had been slated to appear at another 2021 al-Quds Day event at which Hudda also spoke, but withdrew after B’nai Brith explained the antisemitic nature of the event.
“Sheikh Hudda’s remarks once again highlight the hateful and conspiratorial nature of al-Quds Day in Canada,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “The anti-Israel cause is unsuccessful not because of money or disloyal politicians, but because most Canadians are keenly aware of the need for a strong and secure Jewish homeland.
“When the health situation improves so as to allow public events again, we will insist that elected officials honour their commitments to halt the antisemitic al-Quds Day march.”
Despite Hudda’s antics, and despite distributing an online magazine with antisemitic content, the Islamic Humanitarian Service remains a charitable entity in Canada. Also speaking at Saturday’s event was Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, which has been probed by police and UK charity officials over its glorification of slain terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani.
By contrast, the Canadian Revenue Agency has seemingly ignored repeated requests by B’nai Brith Canada to crack down on Canadian charities that have similarly glorified Soleimani.