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Canada: Transport minister Omar Alghabra accused of ties with the ‘political Islamic movement’

The National Post, of course, presents these accusations simply as opportunism or racism on the part of the Bloc Quebecois. It doesn’t bother to inform its readers of these facts about Alghabra that Jihad Watch published in August 2018:

  • Omar Alghabra was described by Al Jazeera as a “long-time personal friend of Trudeau” who was at the Liberal leadership convention when Trudeau won. Alghabra commented after the win that “the results were overwhelmingly joyful…It was really incredible to see the results of the hard work come to an end.” Al Jazeera commented that it was “an achievement the Syrian-Canadian can take some credit for.” In that same article, Alghabra commended Trudeau’s vision to engage with Iran and told Al Jazeera: “On the issue of Iran, Trudeau has clearly stated that he is for engagement.” Alghabra also credited Trudeau with having values “in sync” with his own.
  • In 2013, Alghabra criticized the Harper government’s decision to cancel relief money sent to Syria via Human Concern International (HCI), which has offices in Beirut, Somalia and Pakistan. HCI was also investigated by U.S. officials, and under the Jean Chretien government in 1997, funding was cut off from HCI, for what official documents called “the group’s terrorism connections.” Then in 2015, the RCMP listed HCI in a terrorism investigation search warrant, when tax records showed that HCI granted $68,820 to the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN) between 2005 and 2009. An RCMP wiretap also revealed that “the user of the Montreal IRFAN telephone number … was in contact with HCI office in Montreal in October 2013 and December 2013.” IRFAN was declared a terrorist group by the Harper government in April 2014 for transferring approximately $14.6 million dollars to charities associated with Hamas. The Hamas charter calls for the obliteration of Israel.
  • Alghabra served as President of the Canadian Arab Federation in 2004, a group that once “issued a press release entitled Listing of terrorist organizations must be put in perspective which opposes the designation of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad as terrorist entities by the Government of Canada.”
  • In 2014, a federal court upheld the government’s decision to end funding to the Canadian Arab Federation over its support for terrorist organizations. 74% of a CAF budget for training new immigrants was from taxpayers. The Citizenship and Immigration Minister at the time was Jason Kenney, who “described the CAF as ‘radical and anti-semitic’ [sic] and called the funding arrangement ‘shameful.’” Noted was a comment made by the CEO of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), Shimon Fogel: “It’s particularly disturbing to think that an organization that holds views so diametrically opposed to Canada’s values was given a mandate to integrate new Canadians.”
  • During Alghabra’s term as President of the CAF, he slammed the National Post report that referred to the Al-Aqsa Brigade as a “terrorist group,” and stated: “CanWest, one of the largest media conglomerates in Canada, is failing its responsibility towards all Canadians, not just Arabs and Muslims.”
  • Also during his term as CAF president, Alghabra wrote to Toronto police chief Bill Blair to protest Blair’s decision to lead a “Walk for Israel.”
  • In the letter, which was posted on CAF’s website, Alghabra called Israel “a country that is conducting a brutal and the longest contemporary military occupation in the world. This event coupled with your recent participation in a delegation of police chiefs that went on a six-day trip to Israel on March 1, has begun to create a feeling of genuine distrust and confusion for what appears to be your public endorsement of the practices of the state of Israel.”
  • On January 5, 2006, Alghabra told the Jewish Tribute: “I don’t believe that Hamas wants the elimination of Israel.” Surely Alghabra should know what is in the Hamas Charter. The Tribune article also stated that Alghabra “told the Jewish Tribune that he has ‘always spoken out against extremism and violence against civilians.’ But when asked whether he would specifically denounce suicide bombers, he would not comment, claiming that he was being ‘trapped.’”
  • Upon the death of one of the worst jihad terrorists ever, Yasser Arafat, “Alghabra’s CAF put out a press release mourning the terrorist’s death with ‘sorrow and regret.’” The release stated: “This is a time of reflection and reaffirmation of commitment to the Palestinian just cause of struggle for freedom and self-determination.”
  • At the 38th Parliament, 1st Session’s Subcommittee on Public Safety and National Security of the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Alghabra opposed an anti-terrorist act brought forward by Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin. As leader of the CAF, he stated:

“Our concern then as community members was that the Anti-terrorism Act was the wrong response to the events of September 11, 2001. I’ll tell you why it’s wrong. It’s wrong because it trades fundamental Canadian values, such as the rule of law, respect for human dignity, and fairness, to gain a false sense of security. It’s wrong because it’s motivated and conceived out of fear.”

  • Alghabra also reportedly said that “he was disappointed Ontario’s decision not to adopt Sharia Islamic law for Muslim divorces during a 2003-2006 debate, calling the move not to take on Muslim law in Canada ‘unfortunate.’”

“Transport minister Omar Alghabra slams Bloc’s questions of his ties with ‘political Islamic movement,’” Canadian Press, January 13, 2021 (thanks to M):

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says he feels let down by Bloc Quebecois efforts to taint his past with “dangerous and harmful innuendo.”

“I am disappointed by the Bloc Quebecois’ attempts to create divisions for mere political gain,” he said Wednesday in a statement to The Canadian Press.

Transport minister Omar Alghabra slams Bloc’s questions of his ties with ‘political Islamic movement’

“I expected better. We know what such misinformation could lead to,” he said, calling on the Bloc to reconsider its insinuations, which he dubbed a “dangerous game.”

Alghabra, who received his first ministerial post as part of a cabinet shuffle Tuesday, was reacting to a Bloc release that sought to sow doubt about his association with what it called “the political Islamic movement.”

Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said Wednesday that “questions arise” due to the minister’s former role as head of the Canadian Arab Federation.

However, Blanchet said he “refuses to accuse” the minister of anything specific.

Alghabra was the federation’s president before being elected as a Toronto-area Liberal MP in 2006.

Rather than make specific accusations, the Bloc pointed to a 2016 article by a right-wing Quebec newspaper columnist that made implications about Alghabra’s personal and professional history.

“It’s really questions about his past and also the separation of church and state, which is a profound value for the Bloc,” said spokesman Julien Coulombe-Bonnafous….

Alghabra said in a statement Tuesday night he is a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights and was “shocked and disappointed” to learn of a video using homophobic slurs that was posted online by Fadi Younes, whose digital marketing agency Alghabra had hired on a contract that has since been terminated.

“I was not aware of these comments before today and I wholly reject them,” said the MP for Mississauga Centre.

“We must combat ignorance, hate or intolerance in our society. I will continue to support LGBTQ rights, as we continue to build a more inclusive and tolerant society for everyone.”…

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