Mohamed Elmasry, the embattled president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, apologized again yesterday for his controversial remarks but did not resign — despite repeated calls to do so from other Muslim and Jewish organizations.
Instead, the CIC issued a statement yesterday saying it accepted Mr. Elmasry’s apology for saying that all Israelis over the age of 18 are fair targets for suicide bombers, but not his offer to resign, noting “one unintentional mistake does not wipe out his exemplary 30-year record.”
An unintentional mistake that happens to coincide with fatawa issued by many Islamic clerics and the opinions of other spokesmen?
“It has always been a core belief of mine that killing civilians — any civilians for any cause — is an immoral act of the worst kind and I will never change in this conviction,” Mr. Elmasry said in the media release.
Of course, he did not address the widespread view, articulated by several Islamic clerics, that there are no civilians in Israel.
“Failing to articulate my beliefs clearly, completely, and forcefully on that occasion was the biggest mistake in my 30 years of public life.”
Indeed, but what kind of mistake was it?
While the CIC says it has been “overwhelmed” by calls of support from Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Arab communities, yesterday several organizations reiterated their belief that Mr. Elmasry has done lasting damage to the credibility of his organization, to the cause of Palestinians and of Muslims.
Indeed he has. But not because he is a loose cannon. More because he is articulating a view that is not just his own.