VANCOUVER - Two high-profile Muslim leaders in Canada have been forced to issue clarifications for anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments.
In East Vancouver, the head of the Dar al-Madinah Islamic Society came under attack for calling Jews "brothers of monkeys and swine" during a recorded lecture following Israel's killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, last spring.
Now Sheik Younus Kathrada says the comments were taken out of context.
As Ibn Warraq has noted, the "out of context" defense is the last refuge of dishonest politicians everywhere. Kathrada has to hope that his Western audience now will be ignorant of Qur'an 2:62-65, 5:59-60, and 7:166, all of which call Jews apes and pigs.
In a statement posted on the society's website, Kathrada said his comments were aimed at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not all Jews.
"Any name-calling has been aimed at those perpetrating crimes and acts of terrorism and showing open aggression towards Muslims," reads Kathrada's statement.
"We do not perceive the entire Jewish population as having these traits or qualities. It is not our belief that Jews are sub-human."
The Canadian Jewish Congress has filed a formal complaint with the hate crimes unit. The RCMP is investigating.
Kathrada came under the scrutiny after media learned a young Vancouver man killed in Chechnya had frequently attended the Dar al-Madinah mosque. Family and friends of Rudwan Khalil Abubaker said he had no interest in Muslim extremism and was headed for Azerbaijan to attend a friend's wedding.
These sorts of explanations would be more convincing if they weren't advanced in every single instance. Yes, Cat Stevens gave money to Palestinians, but he didn't know it was going to Hamas; he meant it to be for building schools and hospitals. Yes, Sami Al-Arian raised money for Islamic Jihad, but he was shocked, shocked, to find out that the group engaged in terrorist acts. Yes, Abdurahman Khadr trained with Al-Qaeda, but that was "just the normal thing to do in Afghanistan." These poor fellows are so woefully uninformed -- they should have been reading Jihad Watch.
Meanwhile, the president of the influential Canadian Islamic Congress, Mohamed Elmasry, also came under attack after a television interview last week, in which he said any Israeli over age 18 was a legitimate target for suicide bombers because adult Israelis were required to do military service.
"They are part of the Israeli army, even if they have civilian clothes," Elmasry argued on the Ontario current affairs show The Michael Coren Show....
"I sincerely regret that my comments were misunderstood and, as a result, caused offence," Elmasry was quoted in a web posting over the weekend.
"Dr. Elmasry, did not, does not, and will not condone the widely held Palestinian view that any form of armed resistance against civilians that includes suicide bombing constitutes a legitimate military operation against the Israeli occupation, and not a terrorist activity," said the posting.
Well, then, why did he say it? Are we simply to believe now that black is white on his word?