NCCM urges Prime Minister to rescind travel invitation for controversial guest on visit to Israel

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – January 14, 2014)  A controversial religious leader who spoke in favour of anti-Muslim campaigners should not be personally accompanying Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his official visit to Israel, says a prominent national Muslim advocacy organization in an open letter.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) says it was recently announced that Rabbi Daniel Korobkin would be formally joining the Prime Minister on his flight and visit to Israel, as part of a Canadian Jewish delegation.

On September 17, 2013, Mr. Korobkin spoke at a Toronto event in which he introduced and defended foreign anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.  Geller and Spencer are leaders of the anti-Muslim group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), which has been designated as a hate group with a « conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda » by respected organizations such as the Jewish Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Both individuals have a lengthy and clear record of promoting anti-Muslim sentiments and demonization. Their anti-Muslim views were widely referenced by terrorist Anders Breivik in his hate-filled manifesto that aimed to justify his slaughter of innocent Norwegians in 2011.

In his remarks, Mr. Korobkin defended and praised Geller and Spencer, even going as far as stating they were « speaking the truth« .

In an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee wrote:

« Sadly, Mr. Korobkin has chosen to align himself with some of the most recognized and vitriolic anti-Muslim activists of our time. Accordingly, Canadian Muslims are deeply concerned that he is slated to formally travel with the Government of Canada on your upcoming state visit to Israel.

« The highest political office in our nation should not lend its legitimacy to such parties and views that are entirely contrary to our shared values of mutual understanding, acceptance and respect.

« As Prime Minister, you represent all Canadians including people of all faiths and backgrounds.  Accordingly, in this situation many Canadian Muslims may perceive that your Government is accepting and legitimizing the promotion of hate against them.

« We therefore urge your office to immediately rescind any invitation for Mr. Korobkin to personally join your delegation on your flight and state visit to Israel. »

NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, grassroots organization enriching Canadian society through Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.

CONTACT:  Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, 613.254.9704 or 613.853.4111