“Sheikh Shafiq Huda of the Islamic Humanitarian Service in Kitchener, called for the “eradication” of Israelis. He was one of the speakers on Saturday at the al Quds Day annual rally, whose aim is the destruction of Israel. Originating with Iranian dictator Khomeini in l979, and held in many cities throughout the world, the protesters marched from Queens Park to the US Consulate, shouting hate- filled diatribes against the Jewish State.”

Every year, speaker after speaker at the Toronto al Quds Day rallies, have praised terrorists and incited hatred against Jews and Israelis. According to files from B’nai Brith Canada, last year, organizers played music that encouraged listeners to bomb Israeli buses, stab Israelis and run them over.

In 2013 and 2016, speakers called for Israelis to be shot and in 2014 a Muslim cleric called for “yahoodis” (Arabic for Jews ) to be “dismantled”. Advocating genocide or wilfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group, such as Israelis, is a criminal offence contrary to Canada’s Criminal Code.

Demonstrators waved the flag of Hezbollah, designated an outlawed terrorist organization by the Canadian government. There were also al Quds Day rallies in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton, this weekend.

“The annual al Quds Day hate- fest is a stain upon Toronto’s open and tolerant image,” said Michael Mostyn, chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. Particularly absurd is the fact that rally attendees – many of whom come from outside the city – can shut down parts of downtown Toronto and distract hundreds of police officers from more important work, without paying any fees whatsoever. “The organization is in the process of filing a complaint with Toronto Police.

As usual, the Jewish Defence League, JDL, was the only official Jewish organization to counter protest. This year, more than 100 people joined with them, reported Executive Director JDL, Meir Weinstein. “We joined them ( al Quds protesters) at the US Consulate and had people protesting at Queens Park as well,” he said in a telephone interview. “The hate expressed was consistent with previous years, but this year it was worrisome because there were a lot of children.”

On Sunday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, condemned the rally and said his government will “take action” to ensure it is “no longer part of the landscape in Ontario”. “I will be sending a letter to Premier Ford. I am hopeful that his government will take appropriate action,” Weinstein said.

In an Email sent after the rally, expressing her outrage at the event held on government property, one woman who cannot be identified, wrote: “Can you imagine for one second if the hatred for Jews would be substituted for Catholics? that would not be tolerated for one nanno second, nor should it be toward us.”

Members of the organized Jewish community are concerned about a speech delivered by Sheikh Shafiq Hudda, of the Islamic Humanitarian Service in Kitchener, during the recent al Quds Day annual rally, in which some have heard him as calling for the “eradication” of “Israelis and Zionists.”

While some members of the Jewish community have interpreted this portion of his speech as a call for the physical destruction of “Israelis and Zionists,” the lawyer for Sheikh Hudda insists that he never made any such call, nor that he intended his words to be interpreted in this fashion. On behalf of his client, lawyer Stephen Ellis released the following statement: “My clients have been accused of preaching hate and calling for genocide, when a clear and honest look at the words spoken show a call for an end to unjust empires the world over.”

You be the judge. The contested portion of this speech can be heard in a video excerpt here:

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