The 15th annual “Reviving the Islamic Spirit” convention was held at the Toronto Convention Centre from December 23 – 25, 2016.
According to its website, the convention “aims to promote stronger ties within North American society through reviving the Islamic tradition of education, tolerance and introspection across cultural lines through points of commonality and respect”.
In his traditional greeting to the Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commended the organizers of the annual event saying that “Today, we come together as friends celebrating common values that unite us all, values like empathy, generosity, acceptance and respect. These are tenets of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, vital principles on which Canada is found.
In addition to numerous speakers, the convention’s “Grand Bazaar” featured 200 booths, one of which was taken by several Jewish rabbis from the extreme anti-Zionist, ultra-orthodox fringe sect of Neture Karta (literally “Guardians of the City”).
Neturei Karta vehemently oppose Israel and Zionism, support the Iranian regime, actively advocate for the dismantling of the Jewish State and claim that the Holocaust served as an excuse for the Zionists and their supporters to establish the State of Israel.
According to the Zionist Organization of America’s factsheet, in addition to supporting Iran, which is designated by the Canadian government as a state sponsor of global terrorism and which repeatedly calls for the annihilation of Israel, Neturei Karta – who are shunned by all streams of Judaism and are viewed as a cult on “the farthest fringes of Judaism” by the US-based Anti-Defamation League – also consider homosexuality and abortion as “sins” and claim that homosexuality causes incest and causes God to punish America.
Neturei Karta occasionally burn Israeli flags during anti-Israel rallies, and often take part in the anti-Israel Global March to Jerusalem.
In 2012, four members of Neturei Karta were arrested in Israel under suspicion of defacing the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem with hate and pro-Hitler graffiti.
In 2014, a 47 year-old Jerusalem resident who allegedly spied for Iran on behalf of Neturei Karta, was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison.
In 2014, Neturei Karta openly expressed their support for Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-orthodox anti-gay zealot who at that time was serving a 12 year sentence for attempted murder after going on a stabbing spree during the 2005 Jerusalem Pride Parade. Leaflets posted by Neturei Karta in a Jerusalem neighbourhood praised Schlissel for “defending the rulings of our sacred Torah and protesting against the first obscene parade in Jerusalem.” One month after being released from prison, Schlissel went on a second stabbing spree at Jerusalem’s Pride Parade, killing 16 year old Israeli teen Shira Banki and wounding six others, for which he was sentenced to life in prison plus 31 years.
In 2006 Neturei Karta, who are a permanent fixture at the annual Iran-sponsored anti-Israel al-Quds Day rally in Toronto, shocked the global Jewish community when they met with former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a Holocaust denial conference in Tehran.
At the Reviving the Islamic Spirit in Toronto, members of Neturei Karta handed out flyers, one of which – penned by Rabbi Moshe Cohen – was titled “Jew and Arab Friendship in Historic Palestine”. Cohen, who refers to himself as a “Palestinian Jew whose family lived in Palestine for many generations”, claims that before 1949 Jews and Arabs “lived together in complete tranquility, with great respect for one another. There was no friction between Jews and Arabs as a result of the fact that they were of two different religions” and is adamant that Zionists do not represent the Jewish people”.
A quick online search revealed that in 1920, 1929, 1936 and 1938 – years before the founding of the modern State of Israel – Arabs conducted a series of horrific pogroms against Jews.
One of best-known massacres took place on August 23, 1929, when Arabs murdered 60 defenceless Jews, wounded a further 60, and ethnically cleansed the holy city of Hebron from the remaining Jews. Barely a week after the Hebron massacre, Arabs massacred 18 Jews, wounded 40 and burned and looted 200 homes in Safed (Tzfat), another Jewish holy city.
In a series of attacks from April 15 to July 17, 1936, Arabs murdered 39 Jews and burned down 30,000 trees planted by Jews in Haifa, Jaffa, Jerusalem and other towns.
On October 2, 1938, organized groups of Arab attackers massacred 21 Jews — including three women and 10 children between the ages of one and twelve — in the Old Jewish Quarter of Tiberias.