TORONTO (Sep. 16)
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan spoke Sunday to more than 2,600 people at a convention center in Toronto, despite objections by Jewish groups.
Jewish officials had urged the Canadian government to bar Farrakhan from entering the country on the grounds that his admission might lead to a violation of Canada’s laws against hatred.
Farrakhan reportedly delivered his trademark message of black responsibility, reconciliation and atonement.
A local reporter noted that the Nation of Islam sold anti-Semitic booklets outside the convention room.
Frank Diamant, B’nai Brith executive vice president, said in a statement, “We are hurt and outraged that Farrakhan, with his long and destructive history of bigotry and anti-Semitism, has been invited to our city, where so many are working so hard to fight racism and injustice.”
He added, “Anyone who promotes hatred and violence against any group should not be allowed to spread such venom in Canada. It is against the law.”
Steven Shulman, the Canadian Jewish Congress’ associate director for community relations, said, “We don’t need to import hatemongers from abroad at a time in Canada when we’re trying to build unity with the various ethnocultural groups in this country.”
Shulman added that such notorious figures as British Holocaust denier David Irving and American white supremacist Tom Metzger had been prevented from entering Canada.
Canadian immigration official Kevin Sack said two days before Farrakhan’s appearance, “If an officer is of the opinion that Mr. Farrakhan is coming to Canada to break Canadian hate crime laws, then he would be refused admission.”