The content of what he said is nothing new; many Muslim leaders around the world have said it. But that it would be said in Canada may serve to awaken some people to the real dimensions of what we are dealing with. From the Toronto Star, with thanks to Ali Dashti:
The president of the Canadian Islamic Congress is under fire for saying all Israelis above the age of 18 are legitimate targets of attack.
Mohamed Elmasry made the comments Tuesday on the Michael Coren Live TV show and was criticized yesterday by the Canadian Jewish Congress.
When asked whether “anyone over the age of 18 in Israel is a valid target,” Elmasry replied: “Anybody above 18 is part of the (Israeli) army.”
The show’s moderator followed with another question: “Anyone in Israel, irrespective of gender, over the age of 18 is a valid target?”
“Yes, I would say,” Elmasry responded.
Canadian Jewish Congress president Ed Morgan said his organization was outraged by Elmasry’s comments.
“The very notion that anybody endorses the killing of civilians is beyond what we as Canadians are used to hearing,” he said.
“Anybody who makes a statement like that, to me, is not making an error. And if it is an error, then he should correct the record.”
Elmasry said on the show that since all adult Israelis are part of their country’s army, they are not bystanders in the conflict.
“But they are not innocent if they are part of the total population which is part of the army. … From 18 on, they are soldiers, even if they have civilian clothes,” Elmasry said.
The reaction was predictable from his coreligionists:
Tarek Fatah, a founding member of the Muslim Canadian Congress, said Elmasry’s comments were a thinly veiled attack on Jews and hurt the Palestinian cause.
“Palestinians have a moral and legal obligation to fight the Israeli occupation but to believe all Israelis are targets is … the height of hypocrisy,” he said.
This is common in the West: one Muslim spokesman says something outrageous to Western ears and in line with terrorist thinking. Then other Muslim spokesmen say he’s crazy, that no one believes that in the Islamic community, that he is an eccentric with wild views, etc. However: I will be most interested to see if Elmasry loses his position. I doubt he will.