Toronto’s Jewish Defence League says it will file a “hate crimes” complaint with Toronto Police alleging there were “troubling” words in sermons at a downtown mosque, including inciting the “killing of Jews.”
“We are going to speak with the police,” said JDL National Co-ordinator Meir Weinstein, who alleged Monday that “these are anti-Semitic hate crimes.”
But first the JDL is to hold an emergency meeting to decide how to proceed after bringing to light several videos taken from within the downtown mosque Masjid Toronto, part of the Muslim Association of Canada.
The videos, featuring a 2016 sermon in Arabic, were initially posted online by the mosque. They were subsequently posted on YouTube by CIJnews co-founder Jonathan Halevi, a linguist who speaks several languages.
According to Halevi, the sermon included the following:
“O Allah! Give them victory over the criminal people, O Allah! Destroy anyone who killed Muslims, O Allah! Destroy anyone who displaced the sons of the Muslims, O Allah! Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them, O Allah! Purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews!”
For clarification, the “purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews” refers to the famous mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem.
This certainly does not seem very peaceful. It’s also unbecoming in diverse Canada which celebrates every race and religion and does not tolerate discrimination.
“It’s advocating the killing of Jews,” alleged Weinstein. “We will send a message to the police.”
And they are deciding whether to pay their own visit to the mosque Tuesday or sometime this week.
“We need to clarify what is going on at this mosque,” said Weinstein. “Is this a den of worship or a den of hate?”
The mosque on Monday called language used in the prayer video “inappropriate” and said it “condemns” racism toward any race or religion.
And the Imam who delivered one of the sermons has apologized.
“Neither I, Masjid Toronto or the congregation harbour any form of hatred toward Jews and so I wish to apologize unreservedly for misspeaking during prayer last Ramadan,” said Ayman Elkasrawy in a statement. “I firmly believe that all human beings: Muslim, Jews and people of all and no faith deserve to live a life free of any threat to their safety.”
The JDL’s concerns follows Friday’s protest out front of the mosque by about 20 people — some of whom were carrying signs with slogans such as “beheadings, honour killing, suicide bomber, rape” or “Muslims are terrorists” or “No Islam.”
This garnered an angry response from people calling it Islamophobic — and calls for Toronto Police to investigate some of what transpired as a hate crime.
Even Mayor John Tory tweeted: “Islamophobia has NO place in our city. I’ve visited Masjid Toronto many times & denounce all acts of hatred towards our Muslim citizens.”
Police spokesman Mark Pugash told me officers are not investigating the protest as no formal complaint was filed.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has also attended the downtown mosque to show her support for Muslims following the despicable murders of six innocent people during prayers inside a Quebec City house of worship.
Citing double standards, Weinstein wonders if priorities from people in power are skewed.
“These words should send a chill through everybody in Toronto and in Canada,” Weinstein insisted.
What happened inside of the mosque is disturbing and should be scoped by law enforcement.
“If we receive a complaint we investigate,” said Pugash.