News reports documented in recent years anti-Jewish sermons in Canadian mosques and Islamic literature that contains anti-Semitic messages. The exposure of the younger generation of the Canadian Muslim community to such messages may lead to the development of basic hostility toward the Jewish people, Israel, and Israelis/Zionists (in many cases used as euphemism for Jews), who are described by some in the Canadian Muslim community and religious leaders as the enemy of Islam and humanity.

Imam Tarek Ramadan of Vancouver
Imam Tarek Ramadan of Vancouver

Tareq Ramadan, an activist of the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) which draws ideological inspiration from the teachings of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood Hassan al-Banna, presents in a speech, sermon, and prayer delivered on July 28, 2017, his general opinion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Jewish people, Zionists, and Israel. Ramadan’s claims are based on Islam and erroneous and unfounded historical, demographic, and geographic data.

In his statements, Ramadan refutes the historical claim of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, claiming that the entire territory of Palestine, including the present State of Israel, is land holy to Islam, and it only belongs to the Muslims.

Ramadan claims that the solution to the conflict can only be reached by transferring the territory of the State of Israel to Islamic rule, meaning to a Muslim state that would follow Islamic law (Sharia), which would dictate relations with the Jewish and Christian communities, giving them no government position.

Ramadan refers to Israel as an “illegal” and “terrorist” state, and based on this, he justifies and expresses support for the Palestinian struggle, including the intifada, as expressed through a range of combative activities, such as armed confrontation and terror attacks.

Ramadan’s hostility is directed toward “the Jews,” whom he says are “hateful” (also translated as spiteful, malicious and contemptuous) and “the Zionists,” whom he describes as “an impure gang of Israelites” and “a gang of the worst kind of Mankind.” With such expressions, “the Jews” and “the Zionists” become dehumanized.

Ramadan’s expressions are particularly significant because he is a religious figure who receives extensive support from the Muslim community in Vancouver. Furthermore, they were heard from Muslim community leaders who played an active part in the demonstration. They did not protest his calls for wiping Israel off the map and denying the Jewish people the right to live in the Land of Israel, or his support for the intifada. If anything, it appears that they identified with these messages.

News reports documented in recent years anti Jewish sermons in Canadian mosques and Islamic literature that contains anti Jewish messages. The exposure of the younger generation of the Canadian Muslim community to such messages may lead to the development of basic hostility toward the Jewish people, Israel and Israelis/Zionists (in many cases used as euphemism for Jews), who are described by some Canadian Muslim community and religious leaders as the enemy of Islam and humanity.

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.