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Muslims in Calgary Facebook page removed after outcry over anti-Semitic content

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The Muslims in Calgary Facebook page has been removed. (facebook.com)

A Facebook page called Muslims in Calgary was removed on Feb. 1, after Jewish groups alerted police to hateful comments about Zionists and Jews that they say crossed the line into anti-Semitism and hate speech.

B’nai Brith Canada and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies have both filed complaints with the Calgary Police Service.

On Jan. 31, B’nai Brith learned about an article that was posted on the Facebook group on Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In the article, David Duke, a U.S. white supremacist and former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, claimed that the extent of the Holocaust was exaggerated, in order to garner sympathy for the Zionist enterprise.

Other posts on the Muslims in Calgary Facebook page described Israel as “a scourge, a cancer that needs to be dealt with,” and shared illustrations designed by Hamas.

The posts that have since been deleted accused Israel of stealing the organs of Palestinians and committing ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Palestinian people.

READ: MUSLIM COUNCIL OF CALGARY CONDEMNS ‘HATEFUL’ POST

Other articles alleged that Zionists were complicit in the Holocaust and that they control the media.

The majority of articles on the Facebook page, however, were sourced from the Biblicism Institute’s Christians United For Palestine (CUFP) blog (not to be confused with the organization Christians United For Palestine, which appears to have no connection to the Biblicism Institute or its website).

The CUFP blog is full of anti-Zionist rhetoric and blatant anti-Semitism. One egregious example claims that Jews control U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Trump, the first U.S. president with two Jewish children, beholden to the money power of the U.S. establishment (i.e., Jewish money) that supported his presidential bid (or bought the presidency for him), is making the Israeli dream of stealing Jerusalem and the whole of Palestine a reality; especially since he owes Jewish investment banks hundreds of millions of dollars, which can be easily written off the books if certain conditions are met,” the article stated.

The group that ran the Facebook page also have a website that appears to mostly be dedicated to providing general information about Islam and was still live at the time of writing (although pages with titles such as “Are Jews The Israelites Of The Bible?” and “Why ‘No Free Speech’ on the Holocaust?” seem to have been removed).

A photo posted to the Muslims in Calgary Facebook page, with the caption, “However one looks at Israel, it is a scourge, a cancer that needs to be dealt with.” (Muslims in Calgary/Facebook)

The Muslims in Calgary website also attracted scrutiny in September 2017, when it posted an article defending female genital mutilation and blaming opposition to the practice on the “Jewish media.”

At the time, the Muslim Council of Calgary (MCC) disavowed any connection to the website, stating that those who operate it were in an “adversarial relationship” with the council.

The Muslims in Calgary website solicited funds for four mosques in the Calgary area, including one run by the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC). The Calgary chapter of the Muslim Association of Canada told The CJN that the Facebook page is not affiliated with it in any way, and declined to comment further.

In a statement issued by B’nai Brith, its CEO, Michael Mostyn, referred to the Facebook postings as “virulently anti-Semitic content” and called on “all Canadians of good conscience to reject these attempts to spread hatred and division throughout our society.”

Mostyn said that although his organization did not file a request through Facebook to have the page removed, “B’nai Brith is pleased to see that the Facebook page is no longer active and that many of the articles promoting Holocaust denial and other anti-Semitic tropes no longer appear on the Muslims in Calgary website.

“It is appalling that a group claiming to represent Muslims in Calgary would encourage such hatred and divisiveness, rather than promoting interfaith dialogue and tolerance.”

In a statement, the MCC disassociated itself from the Muslims in Calgary Facebook group and website and said it “strongly condemns all forms of anti-Semitism, direct and implicit, and considers it extremely harmful to building a society based upon mutual respect and human dignity.

“Such contemptible views undermine MCC’s desire to create better relationships with the Calgary Jewish community, as well as with other religious communities in Calgary.”