A conference organized by several Muslim organizations in Ontario’s Niagara region has removed an Egyptian imam from its list of speakers, after Jewish groups alerted the organizers to his history of promoting anti-Semitism.
Omar Abdelkafy was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Niagara Muslim Family Conference on April 14, until B’nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) appealed to the organizers to rethink their choice.
One of the incidents B’nai Brith cited involved a sermon delivered by Abdelkafy – that was recorded and posted on YouTube – in which he quoted from the hadith: “The day of judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslim, O Servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
Abdelkafy can also be seen in an online video accusing Zionists of collaborating with Freemasons to “spread corruption on Earth,” and quoting from the anti-Semitic document, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Abdelkafy found himself embroiled in controversy in 2015, when he promoted conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks on New York during a sermon.
“This play, to which the Muslims are subjected ad nauseam across the world, is the sequel to the comedy film of 9/11. The first part took place in New York, and the sequel is taking place in Paris,” he said in an online video.
Someone who believes in slaughtering Jews and promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is not an appropriate speaker for a family conference.
– Michael Mostyn
Earlier this month, the New York- based American Center for Democracy cited posts on Abdelkafy’s Facebook page that were translated from Arabic, in which he wrote, “O Allah, liberate Al Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews the aggressors … count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them,” and, “O Allah, humiliate the Jews everywhere, destroy them with their plans and kill them with their weapons.”
A post on the Facebook page promoting the upcoming conference said that, “The Niagara Family Conference organizers have revised the list of speakers for the upcoming conference following community input.”
In a statement, Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, said he was grateful for the organizers’ quick response and for their decision to remove the imam from its list of speakers, after considering the concerns of the Jewish community.
Abdelkafy is well known to us for both his anti-Semitic rhetoric and for peddling conspiracy theories.
– Shimon Koffler Fogel
“Someone who believes in slaughtering Jews and promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is not an appropriate speaker for a family conference,” Mostyn said.
CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel said he was also pleased that the Muslim leadership was receptive to the concerns CIJA presented to them, on behalf of the Jewish community.
“Egyptian imam Omar Abdelkafy is well known to us for both his anti-Semitic rhetoric and for peddling conspiracy theories about 9/11 and the Paris terrorist atrocities. We are appreciative that the organizers were responsive to our outreach, though remain puzzled that Abdelkafy was deemed an appropriate speaker for Canadian audiences,” Fogel said in a statement.