A Liberal MP has apologized and rescinded an award she gave to an activist who, according to B’nai Brith Canada, led a rally that was “laden with hate-filled and anti-Semitic slogans.”
B’nai Brith started a petition, which demanded that Liberal MP Iqra Khalid rescind a Certificate of Appreciation she presented last week to Amin El-Maoued, the public relations chief of Palestine House, a cultural centre in Mississauga, Ont. The Jewish advocacy group also called on Khalid to apologize for her “insensitive and dangerous actions.” The petition garnered some 2,000 signatures.
B’nai Brith noted that El-Maoued was investigated by Peel Regional Police for allegedly chanting anti-Semitic slogans at a July 2017 rally in Mississauga, where young children were filmed shouting, “Israel and Hitler are the same,” and others chanted, “With our souls, with our blood, we shall redeem Al-Aqsa (Jerusalem)!”
The group also said that El-Maoued led a rally last November in Mississauga’s Celebration Square, where protesters “called for the destruction of Israel.” According to B’nai Brith, with young children in attendance, protesters chanted, “Oh youth, join him, join him – the martyr has sacrificed his blood!”
On the afternoon of Aug. 16, Khalid issued a statement promising she would “have more thorough due diligence in the future in the allocation of these certificates, and I apologize for this mistake.”
Khalid said she was “not aware” of some of El Maoued’s past views “and only he can speak to them – but we all must stand against anti-Semitism and discrimination in all its forms. As a representative of the government especially, I must condemn them, and rescind the volunteer certificate given to Amin El-Maoued.…
“Anti-Semitism has no place in Canadian society. It is against what I stand for, and is against the work I have done as an MP to promote diversity and inclusion.”
She praised Mississauga’s “dynamic Jewish community and everything they bring to our riding.”
Anti-Semitism has no place in Canadian society.
– Iqra Khalid
In April, Khalid presented El-Maoued with another federal award at a Mississauga event, B’nai Brith said.
Martin Sampson, vice-president of communications at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said that, “Members of Parliament are responsible for who they meet with and who they choose to honour. Mistakes can happen, but we find it troubling that this MP chose to recognize a senior member of the Palestine House organization for the second time, despite concerns raised the first time.”
In an earlier letter to Khalid, B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn said his organization was “shocked” that El-Maoued has received “not one, but two separate certificates from the highest level of government, despite being the antithesis of what our government – and country – should stand for.”
Mostyn said it was “disappointing” and “frightening” that Khalid would “see fit to reward (El-Maoued’s) dalliances with anti-Semitic discourse and incitement, while simultaneously ostensibly working to eliminate all forms of discrimination in Canada.”
Khalid is best known for introducing motion M-103 in the House of Commons. It condemned Islamophobia “and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination,” and was approved in March 2017. Khalid has received a steady stream of hate mail and death threats ever since.
The former Conservative government pulled federal funding from Palestine House in 2012 because of its pattern of support for terrorism and extremism.