Anti-Islam rally to be held in front of Toronto City Hall draws outrage

By The Canadian Press and News Staff

A Jewish organization says it’s outraged that the Calgary-based Worldwide Coalition Against Islam is planning to hold a rally in Toronto on Saturday.

Members of several far-right, nationalist and anti-immigration groups are expected to attend the rally at Nathan Phillips Square outside City Hall on the anniversary of the Neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville.

Noah Shack of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs says reports indicate it’s unlikely the rally will attract more than a small gathering of followers but he says hatred against Muslims or any other minority is an assault on Canada’s core values.

Shack adds groups like the coalition crave publicity and would welcome a high-profile confrontation and the centre has reached out to city officials and police to share its concerns about the event.

On Tuesday, B’nai Brith Canada also expressed concerns about the rally in a letter sent to the city’s leaders.

“This rally is intended to promote hatred and possibly violence on city property, which is in violation of the city’s own Hate Activity Policy and Procedures,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “We condemn the rally’s organizers and requested that the city prevent such rallies from taking place on public property, both this week and in the future.”

But according to B’nai Brith, the City of Toronto says it will allow the event to take place.

In a release, B’nai Brith said Omo Akintan, Acting Director of Equity, Diversity and Human Rights for Toronto, informed them that the rally will go on as planned.

The organization says Akintan noted their concerns and says the city “will not tolerate, ignore, or condone illegal discrimination or harassment including any rally that incites hatred and/or violence against groups or persons,” in accordance with it’s Hate Activity Police.

“To that end, the City has already taken actions to address this matter which includes the preparation of an event plan with the Toronto Police Service that has the life safety of everyone as the primary concern.” Akintan added.

B’nai Brith says it will says it will closely monitor Saturday’s rally and has also raised concerns with “Canadian law-enforcement agencies and those responsible for threats to national security.”

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