FSWC Condemns Platforming of Hateful Imam at Ontario Universities

July 12, 2023

News Release

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Toronto (July 12, 2023) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center is disturbed to learn that an antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ2S+ Imam was allowed to speak at the University of Waterloo and is scheduled to speak at the Toronto Metropolitan University.

Abu Taymiyyah is an Imam who is currently undergoing a speaking tour around Canada, with stops in Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, and around the Greater Toronto Area. This speaker has an extensive history of spewing hateful rhetoric, including antisemitism, homophobia and other forms of hate against the LGBTQ2S+ community. A particularly egregious example includes his repeating the historically damaging and vile libel that there is a correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia.

It is deplorable that institutions of higher learning would give space to such an individual, and we cannot tolerate such hate masquerading as opinion. Free speech does not include inciting hatred against vulnerable communities. The presence and toleration of such hate makes campus a hostile environment for students from all vulnerable communities.

FSWC Director of Allyship and Community Engagement Dan Panneton stated, "Just two weeks ago the University of Waterloo was the site of a gender-based hate-motivated attack that left three individuals injured. The fact that this individual was allowed to speak in the aftermath of the attack is appalling. Students have a right to feel safe on campus, and the toleration of such speakers undermines that right for multiple vulnerable communities."

The University of Waterloo must address why they allowed hate on their campus at this critical time, and Toronto Metropolitan University must cancel the engagement scheduled for tomorrow night. FSWC has written to the University of Waterloo and Toronto Metropolitan University to share our concerns and inquire why the rights of Jewish and LGBTQ2S+ students were not considered.