The Conservative party is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “fire” Iqra Khalid, the incumbent Liberal candidate in the Ontario riding of Mississauga–Erin Mills, for continuing to associate with an “individual with known anti-Semitic views.”
The Tories called for the removal of Khalid after B’nai Brith Canada published a news release revealing that Khalid had visited the home of Amin El-maoued, the head of Palestine House Toronto, whom B’nai Brith characterized as “a radical activist who has incited violence against Jews.”
“Khalid was forced to apologize last year for giving El-maoued a certificate of appreciation from Justin Trudeau. At the time Khalid claimed she condemned his anti-Semitic views. But we now know her apology was a lie,” the Conservatives stated in a news release.
Speaking on Twitter, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer chimed in, asking, “Why does Trudeau keep standing by (Khalid) who continues to associate with the same known anti-Semitic extremist she ‘apologized’ for honouring last year? Why do anti-Semites feel so welcome in Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party?”
The controversy over Khalid’s association with El-maoued dates back to 2018, when B’nai Brith reported that Khalid had granted El-maoued a certificate of appreciation, even though he was a problematic figure.
The year before, he led a rally in Mississauga, Ont., in which participants chanted slogans calling for the eradication of Israel, promising that millions of martyrs would march on Jerusalem and chanting, “Israel and Hitler are the same.” At the time, Al-Maoued was the public relations chief for Palestine House, an organization that lost its federal funding in 2012, because of a “pattern of support for extremism.” He later went on to found Palestine House Toronto.
When informed last summer of Al-Maoued’s involvement in the rally, Khalid rescinded the certificate and stated, “I was not aware of some of Amin El-maoued’s past views – and only he can speak to them – but we all must stand against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.”
However, on Sept. 22, Khalid – who sponsored House of Commons Motion 103, which condemned Islamophobia – attended an event at El-Maoued’s home in Mississauga.
Al-maoued described the visit on his Facebook page on Sept. 24: “MP Iqra Khalid visited my home in Mississauga–Erin Mills and met with many members of the Palestinian community. Between reproach and criticism, we have moved on from the past for the greater interest of the Palestinian community.”
In the comments section that followed, translated from Arabic, El-maoued responded to one post by saying that, “During this time, there were several meetings and the result was this. The meetings meet in my house and we put broad lines not to go beyond it, so my brothers and I are comfortable with this result, especially the goal of the Conservatives and the Zionist lobby is to keep us from the political scene in every way.”
Responding to another comment, El-maoued said that, “The attack led by the Conservative party and the Zionist lobby and the goal was to crush Khalid and to remove the legitimacy of Islam.”
After B’nai Brith raised concerns over her participation in a meeting at El-maoued’s home, Khalid replied in a public email to Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith’s CEO, by saying, “I understand you have expressed concerns over the presence of Amin El-maoued at the meeting. Since the date of the article you shared in your email, Mr. El-maoued has publicly stated multiple times that he stands with and supports the Jewish community against anti-Semitism an all forms of discrimination.
“I would like to reiterate my condemnation of anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination, which has no place in Canadian society and will continue to celebrate the contributions of all faith communities in our riding at every opportunity.”
That prompted a response from Mostyn, who asked on Twitter, “Can you show us where El-maoued has apologized ‘multiple times’ for everything you once condemned? He’s still ranting about ‘the Zionist lobby’ on Facebook.”
Mostyn goes on to question Khalid’s characterization of the meeting with El-Maoued, saying: “You didn’t just happen to meet El-maoued at a meeting; you accepted a personal invitation to host a meeting at his home.”
“It is difficult to fathom how Ms. Khalid did not learn from the previous ordeal,” Mostyn stated in the news release. “Her renewed association with Mr. El-Maoued calls into question not only the sincerity of her previous apologies, but her credibility as well.”