Keynote speaker at Muslim Family Conference in Niagara disinvited amidst controversy
The keynote speaker for the Niagara Muslim Family Conference, scheduled for April 14, was to be Omar AbdulKafi, an Egyptian theologian based in Dubai. But, as the American Center for Democracy and Christine Douglass-Williams noted, the imam has made some rabidly anti-Semitic pronouncements, about which B’Nai Brith raised concerns. AbdulKafi was subsequently disinvited from the conference. However, questions about his even being invited to speak at a Muslim conference in Canada remain. In the letter below, addressed to all Members of Parliament, C3RF founding member Madeline Weld suggests that the government of Canada should pay more attention to the issue of radical Islam in Canada than trying to silence critics of Islam with motions against Islamophobia.
From: Madeline Weld Sent: April 11, 2018 1:10 AM To: All Members of Parliament Subject: Omar AbdulKafi and the Niagara Muslim Family Conference Dear Members of Parliament, Recently Omar AbdulKafi was disinvited to speak at the Niagara Muslim Family Conference on April 14 after questions were raised about the hateful views he had expressed about Jews, including calling for their destruction. That a person with such hateful views should be invited to speak at any family conference in Canada should be shocking. However, the fact that he was invited to address an Islamic conference in Canada – as the keynote speaker, no less – shows that his views resonate with some influential Muslims in this country. Last March, Parliament passed Motion M-103, which condemned “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.” Many Canadians objected to the use of the term “Islamophobia” as it conflates criticism of Islam or any Islamic doctrine with hatred or discrimination against Muslims. They also objected to the singling out of one particular religion, as Islam is the only religion specifically mentioned in Motion M-103. Recent polls show that many Canadians do hold negative views about Islam. This does not mean that all of those Canadians are “bigots.” It suggests that the information they have about Islam is more negative than positive. The views expressed by AbdulKafi give credence to a negative attitude about Islam. And AbdulKafi is held in high regard in the Muslim world, which is why he was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Niagara Muslim Family Conference. The promotion of hatred toward Jews and other non-Muslims, as well as apostates from Islam, homosexuals and other groups of people, seems not to be such a rare occurrence in mosques in Canada, based on publicly available information including some video recordings. Some imams who are on record as having expressed hatred toward one or more of the aforementioned groups include Ayman Elkasrawy (Masjid Toronto mosque), Jamac Usman Hareed (Markaz Ul Islam, Edmonton), Saed Rageah (Toronto), Mazin AbdulAdhim (London, ON), and Shaban Sherif Mady (Edmonton). In addition, some of the books and promotional material that are available at mosques or Islamic centres in Canada present views that are completely antithetical to our Canadian values of tolerance and equality. Rather than using an anti-Islamophobia motion to “quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear” and “condemn Islamophobia,” the government might consider collecting data on the genuine hate speech emanating from mosques in Canada and seek ways to reduce or eliminate the promotion of hatred – and even violence – toward Jews, Christians, adherents of other religions, apostates from Islam, homosexuals, and others. There would very likely be a direct positive correlation between a decrease in hate speech at Canadian mosques and Islamist violence in general and a decrease in “Islamophobia” (or more correctly, anti-Muslim sentiment) in Canada. Last June, “Wild Bill for America” (William Finlay) was not allowed into Canada to attend a rally organized by the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam in Calgary because of negative views he had expressed about Islam (which is a religion or ideology – and therefore not entitled to any legal protection based on “human rights” or any other principle). Finlay has never advocated violence against Muslims or any persons or groups. Yet Omar AbdulKafi, who was disinvited to speak at the Niagara Muslim Family Conference only as a result of bad publicity and public pressure, is still (so far as I know) free to enter Canada. This despite the fact that some of his comments could easily be interpreted as going beyond expressing negative views about Jews (not about the religion of Judaism but about Jews as people, including calling them filth, monkeys and pigs) to the point of inciting violence against them. My request to you, as a concerned Canadian citizen, is to ask yourselves if the focus of the Canadian government has been on “shooting the messenger” when it comes to critics of Islam, sharia, and jihad, rather than on addressing the information that these critics are providing. Should the views expressed by Omar AbdulKafi be considered sufficiently dangerous to bar his entry into Canada? Is the invitation of Omar AbdulKafi to speak at the Niagara Muslim Family Conference an indication that a totalitarian Islamist ideology is being promoted at mainstream mosques in Canada? Is the government of Canada even asking these questions? And if Motion M-103 should ever give rise to a law, would those who call out people like Omar AbdulKafi on their bigotry and incitement be penalized for Islamophobia? Many Canadians are starting to question whether their government is actually “standing on guard” for Canada rather than simply trying to appease its growing Muslim population and the radical factions thereof. Yours sincerely, Madeline Weld, Ph.D. Ottawa