TORONTO – Yusuf Islam, the British singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, was the guest of honour at a Toronto fundraising dinner hosted by an organization that has since been identified by the Canadian government as a “front” for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
In a videotape of the 1998 event obtained by the National Post, Mr. Islam describes Israel as a “so-called new society” created by a “so-called religion” and urges the audience to donate to the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services to “lessen the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Palestine and the Holy Land.”
The Jerusalem Fund is one of four “fronts” named in a secret Privy Council Office memo that was sent to Jean Chretien, then prime minister, on May 23, 2000, discussing what it called groups that “have unsavoury links with terrorism.
“In a limited number of cases, fundraising in support of violent foreign struggles takes place in Canada through the cover of ethnic, religious or community-based associations and groups, lobbying and even criminal activity,” the report says.
“Front groups operating in Canada include the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services (Hamas Front), the World Tamil Movement (Tamil Tigers Front), the Canadian Kurdish Information Network (Kurdistan Workers Party Front) and the Babbar Khalsa (a Sikh extremist front).”
Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, is responsible for most of the suicide bombings against Israelis. Canada has outlawed Hamas under federal anti-terrorism legislation, making it illegal to support the group….
But on June 20, 1998, Mr. Islam gave the keynote address at a Jerusalem Fund fundraising dinner held in Toronto. The event was videotaped, and a copy was obtained by the SITE Institute, a U.S. terrorism research organization.
The video opens with a scene of Niagara Falls, overlayed with the Jerusalem Fund logo, which features the al-Aqsa Mosque and the maple leaf. It begins with an unidentified man explaining the activities of the Jerusalem Fund, which he describes as “helping the Muslims in Palestine” by financing hospitals, health clinics, families in need and orphans.
“Palestine is close to the heart of each and every Muslim. What the Muslims of Palestine have been doing for many years now has been that bright light shining, that hope … that they are still believers that can raise the banner of jihad in the most difficult of circumstances.”
Mr. Islam then begins a 45-minute speech in English in which he says it is “intolerable” for Muslims to “stand and watch” the situation in the Middle East. He describes Jerusalem as the centre of a land that is holy because of its connection to Allah.
“So this city which is blessed because of its religious nature. Therefore, what we see today is the result of the departure of religion from this area, of the uprooting of religion. So many of the people of the faith have been exiled from this region, moved on, to make way for what? Strangely and ironically, they moved on in the name of so-called religion, on behalf of … the Jews.
“Of course, that would explain what is happening. Because the moment that religion and religious virtues disappear, there for sure follows trouble, tyranny, oppression,” he says. “So what do we see then today? The concoction of a so-called new society based on an old society.”
He says there could be “no redeemer except Allah. No political concept or construct or treaty or agent except the laws of Allah, which he instructed for this world. Jerusalem is that, the symbol of that. Out of the hands of the righteous then it falls into disrepute and blood.
“Jerusalem, al-Quds, it is a mirror reflecting the reality … If it is dark, if it is bloody, then so too is the world. Today it reflects injustice of the secular man over the religious man. And how can the secular man be given the control and the sanctuary of the divine place of worship when he doesn’t even respect what is holy? How? And how can those of faith allow that to happen? Therefore, peace will not return until we return to the Holy Land.”