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Saturday, 2 October 2010

Canada: Defense Minister cancelled public speech by imam because his organization is "too extremist"

Peter McKay
Defence Minister Peter MacKay has cancelled a public talk by the executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, saying his organization is too "extremist."

The Defence Department didn't tell Imam Zijad Delic about the cancellation of Monday's event at National Defence headquarters to mark Islamic History Month. He first heard of it when reporters called him. Delic said he was shocked at the news, especially since he had given a public speech at Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2008.

The Defence Department's visible minority advisory group had arranged the small event for Monday morning at the National Defence headquarters. Folk dancers from Bosnia and Herzegovina were to perform for 30 minutes; Delic was to speak for 20 minutes; and then there would be more cultural demonstrations.

Zijad Delic
Instead, MacKay's office released a terse statement late Friday saying: "Minister MacKay took the decision to cancel the imam's role based on extremist views promulgated by the Canadian Islamic Congress (which) has declared that Israelis over the age of 18 are legitimate targets of suicide bombers. These types of comments don't support Islamic Heritage, they simply divide Canadians, promulgate hate and they have no place in Monday's celebrations. Instead, Monday's celebrations will focus on the evolution of Islam in the Canadian Forces and the positive contribution of Canada's Muslim community to our society."

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