Featured speakers who have supported terrorism, antisemitic conspiracy theories and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments are being hosted at a Friday Toronto convention by the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), which has received millions of dollars in funding from the Canadian government for anti-racism programs and social engagement.
The MAC Convention 2022, which is being held at a City of Toronto-owned convention center from July 1 until July 3, featured dozens of speakers in its program, some of which are highly controversial. Some comments made in support of terrorist attacks have been made as recently as May.
“All homosexuals deserve the death penalty.”Dr. Mohammed Rateb al-Nabulsi
“We are disturbed that during its annual conference, the Muslim Association of Canada will once again feature some speakers who have publicly and repeatedly proselytized misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ+, antisemitic, and often violent beliefs that stand in stark contrast to cherished Canadian values," said Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs national chair Gail Adelson-Marcovitz.
Speakers supporting Terrorism
Several of the MAC Convention 2022 speakers have made statements in support of terrorist principles or individual terrorist attacks.
"All the Jewish people are combatant."Dr. Mohammed Rateb al-Nabulsi
Dr. Muhammad al-Shinqiti, a Mauritanian academic who works as an associate professor in Qatar, made multiple posts on social media praising several attacks of the recent terrorism wave in Israel.
"A homeland that is rent asunder by a simple axe on the day it celebrates its false independence is not a homeland but a spiderweb: 'And indeed, the weakest of homes is the home of the spider, if only they knew' (Quran 29: 41)," he tweeted alongside a picture of an axe, in response to the Elad axe murder of three Israelis in May, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
The Mauritanian academic has also shared pictures of himself with controversial Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, praising the man who was issued fatwas condoning the abduction and killing of Americans in Iraq and has issued statements supporting Palestinian suicide attacks on all Israelis, including pregnant women, as he claimed there was no such thing as a civilian Israeli.
"All the Jewish people are combatant," said another speaker, Dr. Mohammed Rateb al-Nabulsi in a 2001 paper, according to Heritage Florida Jewish News. "The Sharia ruling on Fedayeen activity is that it is permissible.”
Dr. Hatem Bazian, a founder of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), has called for Intifada — an armed uprising — in the United States.
Egyptian-born Dr. Jamal Badawi called suicide bombing a heroic act and was allegedly one of the unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial, according to Le Devoir. The Holy Land scandal saw millions of dollars transferred to Hamas, a group recognized in Canada as a terrorist organization.
In addition to support for terrorism, some of the speakers at the weekends convention have supported discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and even the death penalty.
"Imagine eighty thousand gathering on a small island to profess the iniquity of perversion."Dr. Muhammad al-Shinqiti
According to Heritage Florida Jewish News, besides his rulings on terrorism against Jews, Nabulsi has previously said that “All homosexuals deserve the death penalty.”
“Homosexuality involves a filthy place, and does not generate offspring. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of the homosexual. That is why, brothers, homosexuality carries the death penalty," Nabulsi said on Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV in 2011, according to MEMRI. "In Canada, if you have a Canadian sexual partner, you are eligible for Canadian citizenship. It’s frightening, we are extremely lucky in our countries.”
One speaker, Fadel Soliman of the Bridges Foundation, co-signed a letter to UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on LGBTQ+ conversion therapy, seeking to ensure that legislation against the practice wouldn't criminalize Muslims that discourage LGBTQ+ identity.
Shinqiti denigrated attendees of a Pride festival in Gran Canaria, which was linked to a monkeypox outbreak, saying "Imagine eighty thousand gathering on a small island to profess the iniquity of perversion."
Antisemitic conspiracy theories
The MAC convention has also invited Zahra Billoo, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Francisco executive director, as a speaker on "addressing Islamophobia."
Billoo previously went on sabbatical after a controversy in which she claimed at AMP's Annual Convention for Palestine that "Zionist synagogues," the Anti-Defamation League, Hillel and other Jewish organizations are "enemies" who are part of a conspiracy behind Islamaphobia, American police brutality, and US border control.
Billoo was previously ejected from the Women's March over allegations of antisemitism.
Bazian, who will speak on a panel with Billoo on "Muslims living in Islamophobic States," once tweeted a picture of a man in Orthodox Jewish garb, with the caption: “Mom look! I is chosen! I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs & and steal the land of Palestinians *yay* ashke-nazi.” Organ theft by Jews has been called "a new version of the ancient blood libel" by the ADL. Bazian has since apologized for the social media post.
SJP, which Bazian founded, also recently supported the Mapping Project that claimed that Boston Jewish and Zionist organizations were tied to US media, police and government.
“Mom look! I is chosen! I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs & and steal the land of Palestinians *yay* ashke-nazi.”Dr. Hatem Bazian
Canadian government support
MAC has received millions of dollars from the Canadian government over the years. From 2019-2021, the group received over C$2 million in funding for employment and social engagement, in addition to C$350,000 for an anti-racism action program. From January until the end of March of this year, it has received almost C$50,000 for security infrastructure to combat hate crime.
The association has been under audit since 2015 for programming that allegedly does not provide charitable benefit, purported links with foreign entities and religious events rather than social events, CTV news reported in April. MAC has filed a bid to halt the proceedings, calling them Islamophobic.
The location of the 2022 MAC convention is Toronto's Enercare Centre, which is municipal property. According to the City of Toronto's policies, use of such a property isn't allowed for "any individual or group that promotes views and ideas which are likely to promote discrimination, contempt or hatred for any person," including ethnicity, origin, citizenship, religion, and sexual orientation.
The city requires users of its properties to sign a form pledging to take measures against discrimination.
According to MAC's website, the non-profit "provides religious and educational services for the Muslim community in Canada" in 13 cities to establish an Islamic presence integrated in the country's society and culture.
"We believe that most Muslim Canadians reject these ideologies but considering some of the speakers the organizers have invited to speak to our neighbors in Canada's Muslim community, we are concerned that this is something the leadership at the MAC might be trying to change,” Adelson-Marcovitz warned about the convention.Rachel Wolf, Eliav Breuer, Tamara Zieve and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.