Published: 12:00 GMT Daylight Time - Friday 21 October 2011
Islamist group launch campaign in Canada
Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe, Canada
A British-based group linked to Islamism has launched a campaign to establish a presence in Canada.
The iERA has planned conferences in two Canadian cities
The Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) was planning “Calling the World Back to Allah” conferences in Toronto and Montreal as part of its “Canada Launch Tour” between 16 to 23 October. However, following media reports revealing the backgrounds of some of the speakers, the Toronto hotel venue last week withdrew from hosting the event.
According to the iERA's Facebook page, the organisation now plans to use the Canadian headquarters of the Islamic Society of North America in Mississauga for its Toronto conference.
Operation Nehemiah can reveal that iERA is also holding smaller seminars at Canadian universities, including Concordia University in Montreal, McMaster University in Hamilton, York University and Ryerson University in Toronto and the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus.
In what it describes as the launch of an “unprecedented wave of dawa in Canada”, iREA will be unveiling all the programmes that are coming to Canada such as “Dawah Training Workshops, New Muslim Retreats and much much more”.
One of the speakers expected in Canada is Malaysian convert Hussain Yee, who has said “the Jews” are “the most extremist nation in this world” and has also suggested that Jews perpetrated and celebrated the 9/11 attacks.
Another speaker, Hamza Tzortzis, although never personally accused of terrorist offences, is reported to have called for an Islamic state, expressed his hostility towards Western values and stated, "We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even of freedom." He also has links to the Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which advertises some of his talks on its website.
Abdur Raheem Green, currently the chairman of iERA, has spoken in favour of domestic violence and jihad.
Muslim dawa involves more than gaining individual converts to Islam. For many Muslims it includes the establishing of Islamic enclaves that reveal the power and benefits of Islam to others, while for Islamists it involves the eventual and complete Islamisation of non-Muslim societies, both people and structures.
While Operation Nehemiah recognises the right of Muslims to freely practise and share their faith, it is concerned about the involvement of extremists, who are opposed to Western values of freedom and democracy, in this particular campaign.
Earlier this year, Operation Nehemiah reported that iERA is planning a major campaign of Islamic mission (dawa) in advance of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Its advisers included Bilal Philips and Zakir Naik, both banned from the UK by the Home Secretary, and a number of other people who, according to a Daily Telegraph report, have anti-democratic views. Both members have been removed from the “who’s who” section of the iERA website since the Operation Nehemiah report.
The Toronto conference was scheduled to take place on 23 October at the Sheraton Centre hotel. Toronto newspaper the Star informed a Sheraton convention services manager about the speakers. The next day it published an article on the conference, after which a hotel spokesperson said the event had been “cancelled due to the organization’s failure to satisfy a contractual requirement.”
A Sheraton convention services employee said that hotel staff began researching the event after he was informed of the speakers’ backgrounds by a reporter.
“We book things and sometimes we don’t know exactly what they are,” he said.
Howard English, senior vice-president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said that he is “very concerned” about both the conference and the iERA’s attempt to establish itself in Canada. He called the speakers’ views “reprehensible”.
“The people that are being tolerated, featured and promoted by this organization are expressing views that, if promoted in Canada, can only serve to divide people rather than uniting people,” he said.
iERA released a statement saying that it “unequivocally rejects” the Star’s article as “false and misleading”. It also issued an “action alert” urging supporters to “complain about this unfair action”.
It says, “The aim of the upcoming conference, far from promoting hatred, will focus on getting Muslims to pro-actively engage with the wider society by sharing the true essence of the Islamic faith in both word and deed.”
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Read the Star, Toronto article Speakers at Muslim conference noted for disparaging gays and Jews
Read the Star, Toronto article Muslim conference booted from hotel
The iERA has planned conferences
in two Canadian cities
- Pray that groups with Islamist views will not be successful in establishing a presence in Canada.