A hate crimes complaint has been filed with Toronto police against a downtown mosque whose imam allegedly called for killing Jews.
The complaint was made Feb. 22 at 32 Division by Meir Weinstein, founder and leader of the Jewish Defence League of Canada.
Weinstein’s complaint centres around sermons and other messages delivered from 2014 to recently at Masjid Toronto on Dundas Street West. The mosque is affiliated with the Muslim Association of Canada.
According to translations, some of the sermons, which were posted to, then removed from YouTube, included the following:
“O Allah! Destroy anyone who inflicts injustice on your slaves, O the Lord of the Worlds! O Allah! Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them.”
“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!”
The mosque issued an apology on its website, acknowledging that “an inappropriate supplication that was offensive to those of Jewish faith was made in our downtown mosque, Masjid Toronto.
“Such language is unacceptable and against the values and practices of the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), Masjid Toronto and the Muslim community at large.
“Masjid Toronto condemns all forms of hate and racism towards any faith group or others and is committed to offering a safe spiritual space for all congregants.”
One of the mosque’s imams also 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,” Ayman Elkasrawy tweeted Feb. 20. “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.”
In a statement Feb. 21, the MAC said a “a junior employee” at the mosque had added “inappropriate supplications, in Arabic without authorization, and in contravention [of] MAC’s code of conduct.”
The same day, the MAC said it reached out to “leaders in the Jewish community to express our sincerest apologies for this incident and to continue the dialogue between our communities.”
Rabbi Debra Landsberg, president of the Toronto Board of Rabbis, confirmed the MAC had reached out to the TBR.
Weinstein called the mosque’s apology “pretty weak.” Part of his complaint, he said, included messages delivered from the mosque’s pulpit that allegedly supported the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ontario’s attorney general must approve a charge of hate speech prior to prosecution, police spokesperson Mark Pugash told The CJN.
B’nai Brith Canada also complained about Elkasrawy to Ryerson University, where he is a teaching assistant in the science and engineering department.
“We expect Ryerson to take swift action concerning this serious incident,” said B’nai Brith spokesperson Marty York. “We find it particularly deplorable that Ayman Elkasrawy would attempt to disguise anti-Semitism as a form of legitimate religious expression.”
The complaint against the Toronto mosque comes after reports that Montreal police are investigating a video taken in a mosque there in 2014 of a man calling on God, in Arabic, “to destroy the accursed Jews” and “give victory to our brothers who engage in jihad in Palestine.”
Meanwhile, Toronto police received a complaint against an anti-Muslim demonstration outside Masjid Toronto during Friday prayers on Feb. 17.
Between a dozen and 20 protesters chanted anti-Islamic slogans and held signs saying, “beheadings, honour killing, suicide bomber, rape,” “Muslims are terrorists” and “Ban Islam.”
The complaint was filed Feb. 21, Const. Jennifer Sidhu told The CJN.
In response to the protest, Toronto 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.”
Weinstein said the JDL had nothing to do with the event. Neither did a Facebook group called Never Again Canada, according to a spokesperson, though a Never Again Canada group administrator attended the protest, he said.
As well, Never Again Canada posted the following to its page on Feb. 17: “Great rally today in support of free speech… no to wife-beating and no to child marriage. We will never be silenced. Stop Sharia, it’s a crime in Canada.”
Never Again Canada “is dedicated to exposing all those who hate the Jewish people and hide behind the Islamic terror proxies like the BDS movement, which targets the only Jewish state, Israel,” the group states.
On Feb. 22, Jewish and Muslim Liberal members of Parliament joined to condemn the imams’ statements.
“We are horrified by reports that two imams in Montreal and Toronto called for the death of Jews during sermons. We condemn such behaviour and call on the mosques’ administration to take appropriate action,” said the statement issued Feb. 22 by seven Jewish and 10 Muslim MPs.
The lawmakers said they are “equally troubled” by reports of hate notes posted outside identifiable Jewish homes in Toronto the weekend before, “as well as deeply concerning accounts from university campuses of Jewish students being targeted and vilified. Anti-Semitism is real and we must stand together against it.”