- 10:00 am, October 24th, 2011
A protester outside Sunday’s “Calling the World Back to Allah” conference in Mississauga.
Credits: (VERONICA HENRI, Toronto Sun)
JENNY YUEN | TORONTO SUN
About 30 demonstrators who were upset by what they insisted were “anti-Semitic” sentiments at a Muslim conference protested outside the Islamic Centre of Canada in Mississauga on Sunday.
Holding Israeli flags, protesters charged that four Islamic speakers invited to the conference were spreading messages of homophobia and violence towards Jewish people.
“They made inciteful statements against Jews and others,” alleged Meir Weinstein, national director of the Jewish Defence League of Canada. “We don’t think they should be given a platform here in Canada. We consider their stance as they’d like to see Canada become an Islamic state to be dangerous.”
Some of the people scheduled to speak at the conference included Abdurraheem Green, Yusuf Chambers and Shaykh Hussain Yee. The only confirmed speaker was Hamza Andreas Tzortzis.
“Our position has always been to expose and confront these organizations and that’s what we have to do,” said Weinstein.
The two-hour protest became heated after Saleem Chagtai of the Islamic Education and Research Academy that organized the conference approached protesters to offer them a box of baklava pastries.
The two sides engaged in a short shouting match before police separated them.
“Get the hell out of here,” screamed one protester.
Canadian Hindu Advocacy and Christian groups also joined the Jewish Defence League by holding placards outside the South Sheridan Way mosque that read: “Stop Islamic Racism.”
This marks the first time the Calling the World Back to Allah conference took place at the centre, Chagtai said. He added the message for the roughly 500 in attendance was how to be a better Muslim.
“Our message to the Muslims in Toronto and Canada is clear: It’s time to engage with the people you have not traditionally because of historical reasons,” he said. “I gave a speech about how important it is to engage with the Jewish community. We’ve been talking about how we need to give the invitation and talk about morality and spirituality with the lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgendered community. It’s time to start reaching out to them.”
Chagtai called the protest “sad.”