The Liberal Party of Canada has announced that it has withdrawn the candidacy of Quebec Imam Hassan Guillet.
"The derogatory comments that Hassan Guillet made do not match the values of the Liberal Party of Canada. Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team are strongly opposed to anti-Semitic, hateful, racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, sexist and any form of discrimination, "the party said in a statement.
B'nai Brith had called for the disqualification of the Liberal candidate for a "set of troubling and anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli statements." The imam, who became famous after the bombing of the Quebec City mosque in 2017, was to wear the liberal colors in the Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel riding in Montreal.
In particular, B'nai Brith accused him of "celebrating the release of Raed Salah," a Palestinian Hamas activist, and calling Israel "apartheid state" in a radio interview.
"If these statements could be considered offensive to some of my fellow Jews of Jewish faith I apologize, said Mr. Guillet in a statement. My intention was not to offend anyone. The lack of sensitivity of these statements does not reflect my personality or my way of being. "
He says he has evolved and committed "as a militant against hatred and violence" after the attacks of 2017.
More specifically, with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said that "a solution must be found in the dignity and respect of all". "We, as Canadians, can only sympathize with the victims from all sides but we can not impose a solution," he adds.
B'nai Brith "applauded the quick reaction of the Liberal Party," according to a statement.
The Liberal Party said its "rigorous internal review process" lasted weeks.