Jewish groups are disappointed that the Crown will not bring charges against two imams who made anti-Semitic statements, including a call for the death of Jews, in a Montreal mosque, due to the amount of time that’s passed.
Wael al-Ghitawi and Sayed al-Ghitawi gave the contentious sermons at the Al-Andalous Islamic Centre in the St-Laurent borough of Montreal in 2014.
Both the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and B’nai Brith Canada filed complaints against the men with Montreal police, charging that they had incited hatred and violence against Jews.
The sermons came to the public’s attention in February of this year, when YouTube videos of the talks were brought to light by some Toronto-based investigative journalists who translated them.
B’nai Brith tweeted on Sept. 13 that it is “outraged that Quebec prosecutors have chosen not” to proceed, arguing that the excuse that too much time has elapsed “is blatantly false” and stating that B’nai Brith “won’t accept this.”
“While we appreciate the thorough investigation by the Montreal police and the thoughtful decision taken by the Quebec Crown attorney, we are extremely disappointed that the Crown did not feel he was able to proceed with laying formal charges,” CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel said in a statement.
“We share the belief that the comments of one imam in particular clearly constitute hate speech and incitement to violence towards Jews and that only technical constraints precluded the Crown from laying charges at this time.”
In a 36-minute video filmed in August 2014, Sayed al-Ghitawi, who was visiting from the Middle East, is heard beseeching Allah “to destroy the accursed Jews” and “give victory to our brothers who engage in jihad in Palestine.”
He calls on the deity to “kill them one by one” and “make their children orphans and their women widows.”
The mosque issued a “clarification” in February, saying that the remarks were taken out of context: they were delivered during the war in Gaza, when there was a “massacre” of Palestinian civilians, mosque official stated, and those present understood that al-Ghitawi was referring to Israeli soldiers.
The second video from November 2014, shows Wael al-Ghitawi, Al-Andalous’s imam, declaring that today’s Jews have no historic right, or ethnic lineage, to “Palestine,” which he said is land that belongs exclusively to Muslims.
In the short clip, disseminated by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute, he claims the Jews were dispersed because they cursed Allah, killed the prophets and rejected Jesus.
In July, a Quebec judge issued an arrest warrant for an imam who made violent anti-Semitic statements at another Montreal mosque last December.
Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa al-Nasr was captured in a 20-minute video at the Dar Al-Arqam mosque in the Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension borough of Montreal, denouncing Jews as “the most evil of mankind.”
Al-Nasr, who was visiting Canada and is believed to be from Jordan, said in the video that Allah has ordained that Jews be killed by Muslims “at the end of time,” apparently drawing on a statement made by Muhammad.
He has been charged with the wilful promotion of hatred under Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code, following an investigation by the Montreal police’s hate crimes unit.
Al-Nasr’s whereabouts are unknown. B’nai Brith has called on Canada’s attorney general to demand that Jordan, or whichever country he now lives in, extradite him to Canada to face justice.