Vision TV has cancelled Muslim Perspectives, a television show featuring Imam Zafar Bangash, following a complaint from B’nai Brith Canada and a petition it organized that alleged the program was being used to promote anti-Semitic and hateful content.
In an email to its supporters, B’nai Brith said that thanks to the petition, the show “will no longer be able to poison the minds of impressionable viewers with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and anti-Israel rhetoric.
“Thanks to you, as well as the principled actions of the broadcaster, Muslim Perspectives will no longer be able to promote content that encourages division between the Muslim and Jewish communities, rather than fostering dialogue.”
Michael Mostyn, the CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, told The CJN that his organization was alerted to the program’s allegedly problematic content by “concerned individuals from the public,” and had been monitoring it for some time.
B’nai Brith recently published a two-part investigation into Imam Bangash, alleging “that a local Islamic leader is abusing his platforms to promote anti-Semitism and homophobia through an international news magazine, which is directly affiliated to a Canadian charity and television show.”
Mostyn explained that Bangash “is a director with the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, editor of Crescent International monthly news magazine, imam and president of the Islamic Society of York Region (ISYR), a regular participant and speaker at the annual Al-Quds Day rally in Toronto … who has influenced many Canadians and non-Canadians with his noxious views.”
B’nai Brith has asked York Regional Police to investigate Imam Bangash and called on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to scrutinize the ISYR “over concerns it may be misusing its funds as a charitable organization to promote anti-Semitism.”
According to the CRA, the ISYR issued charitable receipts of around $665,000 and allocated more than $400,000 to various unnamed recipients in 2017.
According to Mostyn, Muslim Perspectives promoted the English-language magazine Crescent International, which is also linked to the ISYR, and which “has published content saying there are ‘Jews who … belong to Satan,’ that homosexuality is ‘a contagion that preys on innocent victims’ and that ‘Muslims will deal the deathblow to the Yahud (Jews).’ ”
The ISYR did not respond to a request for comment.
Controversy over Imam Bangash dates back to at least the time of the Second Intifada. In a Crescent International article written during that uprising, Bangash called for the elimination of Israel and for it to be replaced with “a Palestinian Islamic state.”
In 2007, the Toronto Star reported that Newmarket, Ont., residents were opposed to the construction of a mosque that was spearheaded by Imam Bangash. They noted a 2005 column in Crescent International, in which he stated that, “Muslims must strive to overthrow the oppressive systems in their societies through Islamic revolutions, and not by participating in fraudulent elections organized by the elites operating through various political parties that actually divide the people.”
In the same Star article, Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, alleged that Imam Bangash was the “unofficial spokesperson for the Iranian regime in Canada.”
During the 2014 Al-Quds Day rally at Queen’s Park in Toronto, an event sponsored by pro-Iranian organizations, The CJN reported that Imam Bangash said, “America is going to go down the drain very soon with the Zionist filth.”
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Meanwhile, in an unrelated case, the Ontario Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court decision and opened the way for B’nai Brith to face a $200,000 defamation suit from Dimitri Lascaris.
Lascari – a lawyer, BDS proponent and former Green party candidate – sued B’nai Brith for writing that he allegedly supported terrorists and evoked sympathy for the family of Bahaa Alayan. In October 2015, Alayan and his cousin boarded an east Jerusalem bus and murdered three passengers. Alayan was killed by Israeli security forces and his cousin was captured.
Writing about the incident, Lascaris cited Muhammad Alayan, the father of the slain terrorist, as saying that Israeli security forces had killed his son extrajudicially.
B’nai Brith had presented a motion asking the court to dismiss Lascaris’ action as a strategic lawsuit against public participation. The lower court agreed, but the appeal court ruled that the lower court erred and ordered the case to proceed to trial before the Superior Court of Justice.