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Ottawa Cops Investigated ‘Call To Prayer’ As Hate Speech Before Toronto Mosque Reprise

Two weeks before a radical Islamist created controversy in Toronto by blaring antisemitic slogans outside a mosque as part of a call to prayer, he had already come under investigation by the Ottawa Hate Crimes unit for similar antics.

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Antisemite Firas Al Najim

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The City of Ottawa exempted mosques from local noise bylaws during Ramadan to allow them to amplify a five-minute call to prayer at sundown (“Maghrib (sunset) adhan‘). Firas Al Najim, manager of hardline anti-Israel organization “Canadian defenders For Human Rights” CD4HR, proceeded to recite the call to prayer on April 30 outside the Imam Ali (As) Masjid Mosque, but at the end used the opportunity of a public megaphone to call for a stance against the ‘Zionist regime’.  His group was banned this winter by Facebook for similar expressions of intolerance.  
 
Upon seeing the video of the performance by Al Najim promoted online, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was contacted with a complaint, protesting the actions and explaining the context of his commentary in front of the mosque.
 
The complaint also referred Watson to an online video made two days earlier (April 28) when “Mr. Al Najim recorded another disturbing anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and Antisemitic video in which he compared Zionism to Nazism“. Before the Mayor replied, he received a second complaint the next week, after the same tactic was used outside the Afghan-Canadian Jaffari Culture Centre. Al Najim had promoted that speech on the CD4HR Twitter account, which frequently recycles the tweets of Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader.

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Watson was urged “to take immediate actions to ensure that public calls to prayers aren’t used to spew anti-Israel, anti-Zionists and Antisemitic hate speech. Nor should they be used for political purposes.” In response he turned the issue over to City Solicitor  David White. 
 
Despite the City having opened the door to the public amplification of Jew-hate by suspending enforcement of the noise bylaw, White insisted “the municipality has no legal authority or ability to respond to incidents of these kinds, particularly in light of the possible implications of the right to freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” 

Firas' antisemitic rambling with a dousing stick. He may have found water but struggled to find a point for 17 min

“Recognizing that, I have provided the complaint to the ranking officer who oversees the Ottawa Police Service’s Hate Crimes Unit, for investigation as a possible hate motivated incident.”
 
The Unit was revived In January after by Police Chief Peter Sloly called the rise in hate crimes in Ottawa and nationwide “alarming.”
“Ottawa was the first police service in Canada to start a hate crimes unit. It has a proud tradition in that area,” he told CTV News, “But for a number of reasons, the resources in those areas have moved away, and we got down to a very low level, one that wasn’t acceptable to our communities and not acceptable to our frontline officers.”
 
Despite that commitment, an email from Det. Ali Toghrol, Security Intelligence for Hate Crimes Investigations, blew off the complainant with a terse email on May 11.  
 
“We are aware of the YouTube videos involving Mr. Al Najim. Thank you for bringing up the matter. If there are any other issues or concerns please feel free to contact our service.”
 
The three step approach outlined by White faces hurdles that can deter charges being laid at the finish line.  
 
“… trained and professional investigators will fully review crimes flagged as hate-motivated and ensure those indicators are included in evidence for court process.” White then explained  “While an investigation is underway a community outreach effort is also made. This can include assistance to victims, a response by Community Police Officers, Diversity Race Relations/Community Development personnel, and often senior leadership… At all times, various units and personnel are working with the community to encourage reporting and explaining the process to community groups.” 

ISIJ statement

However, even if the Security Intelligence Section, responsible “for monitoring trends and issues that can lead to local incidents of hate and extremism in Ottawa” finds evidence, White stated “the Ottawa Police website cautions that, “[b]efore laying any Hate-Motivated or Bias-Motivated criminal charges … police are required to conduct an investigation, then turn the file over to the local Crown Attorney’s Office, and then get consent from the Attorney General’s Office to pursue the incident.”    
 
“Police must balance a person’s constitutional rights with the [Criminal Code of Canada], which makes investigations very complicated.”
 
It is not known if Ottawa police contacted Al Najim as part of their investigation. However, last weekend, in a reprise of his Ottawa test-run, he once again appeared outside an Ontario mosque and hurled anti-Zionist and antisemitic rhetoric. 
 
As reported by Canadadocs.org, “On May 16, 2020 Firas Al Najim used a loudspeaker to recite the Islamic call to prayer (adhan) outside the Jaffari Islamic Centre located at 9000 Bathurst Street in Thornhill, ON. He also delivered a speech calling Muslims to follow the religious duty of refraining from any business transaction with Zionists.”
 
Thornhill MPP Gila Martow reacted quickly. “I am disappointed that this gentleman used his alleged permission from the City of Vaughan to spew anti-Zionist propaganda and anti-Semitic tropes with no regard for the vast majority of Vaughan residents who support living together in peace… I certainly hope that this gentleman’s message of intolerance and misinformation is not shared by the membership and families of the Jaffari Centre. I look forward to meaningful dialogue with them in the near future.”
 
Her comments drew an immediate rebuke from the Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat (ISIJ) of Toronto, which issued a statement claiming “We do not know the individual who recorded himself on our premises at the Jaffari Community Centre in the City of Vaughan,” said ISIJ of Toronto Vice President, Shafiq Ebrahim“The individual came to our premises without our authorization and we did not request nor allow this recording to occur.
 
However, researchers quickly ascertained that “the individual” was no stranger. 
 
In 2019 Al Najim published a letter he sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that listed Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat of Toronto, Shafiq Ebrahim, Vice President” as endorsing the document, and was identified at municipal hearing as supporting a redevelopment scheme proposed by the Jaffari Centre.
Editor’s note: After this report was prepared, but prior to publication, HD4HR confirmed the researchers were correct. 
Around midnight Tuesday, the group alleged on Twitter that ISIJ and the Jaffari mosque “have lied & dissociated from our manager @Islamic_HR out of fear of the #Zionist politician @GilaMartow & the zionist influential bullying network. The tweet asserted “Al Najim had permission & is embedded in the community.”

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca.  Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragon’s Den.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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