Canada: Imam, candidate in federal election, excluded for anti-Semitism


Last May, Imam Hassan Guillet won the inauguration of the Liberal Party of Canada in the Montreal riding of Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel, on the occasion of the federal elections scheduled in less than two months.

His nomination was finally canceled on Friday, following a request from the Jewish organization B'nai Brith, who had called for his disqualification for a "set of disturbing anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli statements."

In particular, B'nai Brith blamed him for "celebrating the release of Raed Salah," an Islamist preacher and leader of the Islamic Movement's northern branch in Israel, whom Guillet described as "resistant" and "jihadist" and who spent "nine months in a prison in occupied Palestine".

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"We congratulate Sheikh Salah for his release and resistance. (…) We ask God to speed up the release of all the prisoners as well as that of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and all Palestine, "he wrote in Arabic in July 2017.

Raed Salah, Leader of the Islamic Movement's Northern Branch in Jerusalem, March 26, 2015 (Miriam Alster / Flash90)

Hassan Guillet also described Israel as an "apartheid state" and wrote on Facebook that "Zionists control American politics," in addition to accusing Jared Kushner of being "an ultra-Orthodox Jew and a pro-fundamentalist. Israel. "

"The derogatory comments that Hassan Guillet made do not match the values ​​of the Liberal Party of Canada. Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team strongly oppose anti-Semitic, hateful, racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, sexist and any form of discrimination, "the party said in a statement.

"Following a rigorous internal review process that lasted weeks, the Liberal Party of Canada revoked Mr. Guillet's candidacy," he added – a move welcomed by B'nai Brith.

"If these statements could be considered offensive to some of my fellow citizens of Jewish faith I apologize," said 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. "

On the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he explains: "We, like Canadians, can only sympathize with victims from all sides, but we can not impose a solution. "

The man said he was "completely shocked" by the decision to exclude his party. "I confirm that I am not anti-Semitic. On the contrary, I campaign and will always campaign against all forms of racism including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, "he added.

He also said he became "an activist against hate and violence" after the bombing of the Quebec mosque in 2017, which killed six people. His speech at the funeral of the victims moved the people of Canada so deeply.

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