Quebec prosecutors will not file formal charges against two imams in Montreal, Canada, after it was reported that they had prayed for Allah to “destroy the accursed Jews,” as well as made other anti-Semitic statements.
Two years after the fact, without even a slap on the wrist, their contentious sermons seem to have been overlooked by authorities, say two Jewish groups which have filed complaints against the men.
Back in 2014, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and B’nai Brith Canada both filed complaints with Montreal police against imams Wael al-Ghitawi and Sayed al-Ghitawi, charging that they had incited hatred and violence against Jews with their contentious sermons at the Al-Andalous Islamic Centre in the St-Laurent borough of Montreal.
In a November 2014 video seen on YouTube, Sayyed Al-Ghitawi said at the Al-Andalous Islamic Center that Allah will kill Jews “one by one.”
The sermons came to the public’s attention in February of this year, when YouTube videos of the talks were brought to light by investigative journalists based in Toronto, 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 begging Allah “to destroy the accursed Jews” and “give victory to our brothers who engage in jihad in Palestine.”
He calls on his 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, a mosque official explained, and those present understood that al-Ghitawi was referring only 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.
A 20-minute video made at the Dar Al-Arqam mosque in the Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension borough of Montreal shows Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa al-Nasr 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.
The imam has since been charged with the “willful promotion of hatred” under Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code, following an investigation by Montreal’s hate crimes unit of its police department.
Al-Nasr’s whereabouts are currently 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.
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