By Aidan Fishman
B’nai Brith Canada
Campus Affairs Coordinator
A speaker at the 2016 al-Quds Day rally recited a poem filled with antisemitic stereotypes before an audience of hundreds of people in downtown Toronto.
Ali Razvi began by condemning “occupiers” who “slaughter Palestinians more worse [sic] than they do to cows.” He then accused those who “cross the Red Sea” and “left [Palestine] all alone” of “killing prophets after prophets,” including “Zakariyyah, caretaker of Mary, as well as Yahya” and “betraying people one after the other.” Razvi concluded by threatening the aforementioned group with punishment by “the 12th holy prince” or Mahdi, a messianic figure in Shi’a Islam.
Reached by B’nai Brith Canada for comment, Raheel Raza, a Muslim-Canadian activist based in Toronto, said: “Razvi’s comments unambiguously refer to Jews and are clearly antisemitic. As a reform-minded Muslim, I believe that these views have no place in modern Islam”.
The age-old canard that the Jews killed the prophets is a common antisemitic trope among radical Islamists and has been used to incite deadly violence against Jews for centuries. Islamic Studies scholars have linked this belief to the Christian accusation of deicide, which blames the Jewish People for murdering Jesus of Nazareth. This libel was officially renounced by the Catholic Church in 1965, and by many orthodox and protestant denominations shortly thereafter.
Razvi is a journalism student at Ryerson University and a member of the Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat, a mosque and Muslim community centre located in Richmond Hill, Ont. He also works as the Canadian marketing assistant for Ahlulbayt TV, an international Shi’a Islamic television channel based in London, United Kingdom.
B’nai Brith Canada has previously exposed other incidents of incitement at the 2016 Toronto al-Quds Day rally, including a local Arab-Canadian leader who called for Israelis to be shot,[ broken link 1 ] a Shi’a cleric from the United Kingdom who blamed Zionism [ broken link 2 ] for “all of the problems in the world”, and a Mississauga schoolteacher who glorified Palestinian terrorism.[ broken link 3 ]
“These hateful and inflammatory remarks have no place in Canadian public discourse,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “As we have tragically seen across the world, hatred and religious extremism make for a volatile and often deadly combination. The ongoing indoctrination of young children at the al-Quds Day rally with these noxious stereotypes is particularly concerning”.
B’nai Brith is in contact with Toronto Police about hateful speeches delivered at the 2016 Toronto al-Quds rally. This is a developing story.