On June 27, 2018 Toronto lawyer Stephen Ellis posted the following statement:
So-called “Hate Preacher” Serves Libel Notices on MP, right-wing media
Over the past week, Sheikh Shafiq Hudda and the Islamic Humanitarian Service, both of Kitchener, Ontario, have served Libel Notices on several organizations and individuals, including, but not limited to, the following:
B’nai Brith Canada, The Toronto Sun, The Center for Jewish and Israeli Affairs (CIJA) Peter Kent (MP-Thornhill), Waterloo Region Record
The serving of a Libel Notice is a requirement under the Libel and Slander Act in order to sue for defamation.
“My clients intend to sue for the wildly defamatory comments made by each of these organizations and individuals following the Al-Quds rally of June 9, 2018,” said lawyer Stephen Ellis. “My clients have been accused of preaching hate and calling for genocide, when a clear and honest look at the words spoken show a call for an end to unjust empires the world over.”
“The yearly Al-Quds event is attacked because it symbolizes resistance to Israeli apartheid. In my opinion, supporters of the apartheid system have launched an attack on Sheikh Hudda by deliberately taking his words out of context, painting him as a monster. Luckily, there’s a legal remedy for such acts.”
Sheikh Shafiq Hudda was one o the speakers at al-Quds Day rally held in Torotno on June 9, 2018. MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute) published segments from Hudda’s speech:
More than any other nation on the face of this earth, the Zionist entity of Israel has been condemned by the United Nations, by human rights organizations, by any believer of justice and love of humanity. Why, you’re saying that it’s antisemitism? It’s anti-Judaism? Then I would say why are my Jewish brothers and sisters here today and every year? It’s not a matter of Semitism or antisemitism, it’s a matter that the government of Israel, the state of Israel has committed acts that no other country and no other nation, no other entity has committed. Against innocents, against children, against the vulnerable, against the elderly. You will see them, everywhere around you. Those who are the most vulnerable get attacked by the Zionist. Why? If you are not cowards, if you are brave, send your army into Palestine. Why bomb, why send missiles, and aerial bombardments? Start fighting solider to soldier, face to face. We know you can’t do that, because you are cowards. You’re afraid, because you will leave in body bags.
The same body bags that you have caused for the Palestinians, your army, the Israeli Defense forces will leave from Palestine in those same body bags. Come forward, we challenge you, we challenge the Israeli Defense Force. Fight like men, not cowards. Cowards will bomb babies, destroy homes, uproot trees, cause economic desecration. Somebody who is not my favorite person, David Cameron, called Gaza the world’s largest open-air prison. No freedom to move around or travel. No medical availability. Basic medications or antibiotics are not available. Children and the elderly and the vulnerable die for simple basic medications that you and I are probably throwing in the garbage every year. This is one thing, I will mention one thing that perhaps may be a bit of a surprise. I am praying for a day to come in our lifetime, where we won’t need the Al-Quds rally because Palestine will be free. Oppression will be eradicated, injustice will end, that’s the day we pray for. So we don’t have to meet every Saturday in the holy month of Ramadan. This is our prayer to the almighty creator, whether you call him God or Allah. You call him Jehovah or whatever name you want to call him. We pray to the creator and to the almighty, a day will come when we see justice throughout the world. The eradication of the unjust powers such as the American empire, such as the Israeli Zionists. And the same way that we saw the British Empire wither away, the sun never set on it… the sun sets on it. We will see a day coming inshallah, God willing in our lifetime, where this empire, the Zionist empire, the American empire will be down in the dustbins of history inshallah God willing.
On June 10, 2018 B’nai Brith Canada issued a statement on AL-Quds Day rally in Toronto. The following are excerpts from the statement:
“B’nai Brith Canada is in the process of filing a complaint with Toronto Police after a speaker at Saturday’s al-Quds Day rally in downtown Toronto called for the “eradication” of Israelis. Sheikh Shafiq Huda of the Islamic Humanitarian Service in Kitchener, Ont., made the remarks as part of the annual hatefest dedicated to the destruction of Israel, inaugurated by Iranian dictator Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979… Advocating genocide or wilfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group, such as Israelis, is a criminal offence contrary to sections 318 and 319 of Canada’s Criminal Code…”
on June 11, 2018 the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) published an open letter to Premier-Designate Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory. The following are excerpts from the letter:
In recent years, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) has monitored and exposed examples of hatred and extremism at the event. Examples include incitement to violence, calls for Israel’s destruction, the promotion of anti-Israel and antisemitic conspiracy theories, and the display of symbols associated with terrorist groups that are banned in Canada. This year was no exception. In one illustrative example, a speaker called for the “eradication” of Americans, Israelis and Zionists against the backdrop of hateful placards and the flags of terrorist organizations.
This should be of grave concern to all Ontarians and Torontonians. Antisemitism is a telling indicator of the overall health of a society. Those who target Jews ultimately threaten the freedom, equality, and security of all.
On June 12, 2018 Conservative MP Peter Kent (Thornhill, ON) stated in Parliament the following:
Mr. Speaker, hundreds of worthy Canada summer jobs employers were denied funding for thousands of young people this year because they refused to accept the Liberals’ imposed values. Now, the Islamic Humanitarian Service of Kitchener ticked the box and funding was personally approved by the Liberal House leader. Well, Sheikh Shafiq Huda of this organization now calls for genocide, the eradication of Israelis, and says, “You will leave in body bags.” Does the minister not believe those words clearly violate the Liberal values attestation?
In response, Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, said the following:
Mr. Speaker, as I have said clearly time and again in the House, all recipients of Canada summer jobs funding must adhere to the terms and conditions of the program. That includes not undermining the rights of other Canadians and ensuring young people have quality jobs that will help them move forward in their future. If the member is concerned about that organization, then he can bring it to my attention.
On Jun 13, 2018 Waterloo Region Record’s Luisa D’Amato reported on the statement issued by B’nai Brith Canada adding the following:
For his part, Hudda says he finds it “very insulting and upsetting” that anyone would think him anti-Jewish. He said Jews were marching beside him at the rally. He also says he doesn’t single out Israel for criticism. He calls for eradication of other governments whose actions he dislikes. For example, “I have called for the eradication of the state of Saudi Arabia.”
During our conversation, Hudda agreed with me that a Zionist is someone who believes in the right of Jews to a homeland in what is now Israel. He says he is generally on board with that, but not the “expansionist” version of Israel’s government.
In the end, the only way to judge Hudda is not by what he says he meant, or who he was with, but simply by the words he spoke on Saturday. It seems to me that criticizing Israel for its policies is fair game, just as you might criticize Canada or the United States.
But that wasn’t what was happening in Hudda’s shouted, apocalyptic speech. The word “eradication” means “complete destruction.” Calling for the complete destruction of the citizens of the world’s only Jewish state, and of those who believe in its right to exist, seems to me to be an act of hatred, plain and simple. There is no room for it in civil Canadian society.
The Toronto Sun published two articles on al-Quds Day rally: “City turns blind eye to illegal anti-Israel hatefest — again” by Sue-Ann Levy and “Federal jobs program gives funding to hate preacher’s group” by Candice Malcolm.