TORONTO — New immigrants should be asked whether they “believe in the jihad” in order to weed out Islamic extremists seeking to enter Canada, former Sun News Network host Ezra Levant told an Israel advocacy event earlier this month.
Levant, founder of TheRebel.Media website, made the comments at an Israel Advocacy Training Workshop March 15 at Toronto's Village Shul, noting that such a litmus test has been proposed by Muslim broadcaster Tarek Fatah.
Levant, who received many rounds of applause during his talk, also advised the capacity crowd of more than 250 people to consult the website CanadianJihad.ca in order to know what is being said in Canada’s mosques.
“There are facts about jihad in Canada that need to be known, that would turn the tide [of public opinion]. If people only knew the number of imams who in mosques, student centres… are calling for sharia and an Islamic state. We need to make their extremist views political poison and to stop politicians from glad-handing there for political purposes,” Levant said.
Levant also discussed what he described as a double standard shown toward Israel in the media and public debate, and declared that “anti-Semitism causes hatred of Israel, and not the other way around. And its cousin is anti-infidelism.”
As an activist, Levant is known for championing free speech – a complaint about him was brought before the Alberta Human Rights Commission in 2006 after, in his role as editor of the conservative Western Standard magazine, he published the notorious Danish Muhammad cartoons – and he spoke about anti-Semites of the past, particularly neo-Nazi John Ross Taylor. He suggested that instead of prosecuting them for hate speech, the best course of action would have been to let “the Nazi kooks” speak and fade away.
During a question-and-answer period, Levant was asked about the problem of people who incite others to violence and murder. He answered: “That is why we need a screening test.”
With regard to people who already live in Canada and incite others to violence, he said there are “ sufficient laws on the books in order to prosecute them.”
The seven-hour advocacy event was organized by marketing professional Robert Walker, who during Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza last summer helped organize a rally at Queen’s Park and the formation of the loosely affiliated group Canadians for Israel.
“Canadian Jews and friends have incredible potential to make their voices heard,” he said of his reasons for organizing the advocacy workshop. “We have to do the best possible job in advocating for Israel.”
Walker added: “I was flooded with emails from attendees who told me they were already working on new initiatives from what they had learned.”
Other speakers included Richard Bass, of EmetEducation.org on “How to be a Critical Thinker”; Mark Vandermass of IsraelTruthWeek.org on “Israel’s Legal Rights”; Meryle Kates of StandWithUs Canada on “Israel Advocacy on Campus”; Frank Dimant of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) on “How to be a Trustworthy Candidate”; e-marketing specialist Sarah Zeldman on “Social Media Advocacy”; Christine Williams of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem on “Christian Zionists and anti-Zionists”; Georganne Burke of the Pathway Group on “How to Lobby for Israel”; and Steve McDonald, of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) on “7 Tips for Pro-Israel Communication.