|From the July 21 rally in Toronto|
On a hot Toronto afternoon in July, a small crowd incongruously dressed for the weather; women in gowns and scarves covering them head to toe and the men and boys wearing heavy long sleeved shirts, paraded in a circle outside the U.S. Consulate.
The ostensive reason for the gathering last Saturday was to protest the imprisonment of a Shia cleric named Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia because of his secessionist activities there. But the mood, as is so often the case with events featuring radical leaders of the local Shia community, degenerated into one of anti-Semitism.
The US consulate is the hub of these protests, rather than those of the countries directly involved, because the leaders of these movements promote depraved conspiracy theories. These range from the US and Israel being responsible for the 9-11 terror attacks to a variety of the world’s ills being caused by Zionist conspiracies, as was the case on Saturday.
|Also at the US consulate protest|
The rally featured a number of speakers involved with the Canadian Shia Muslim Organization, which gained notoriety for posting anti-Semitic videos by former Ku Klux Klan supremo David Duke on its website. They included Zafar Bangash, the radical Imam who Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center had previously condemned for issuing a thinly veiled threat to Jews in the event of a war with Iran. Among the other speakers was Ali Mallah, who sits on the board Alternatives International, the group that funnelled money to the Sea Hitler Canadian Gaza Boat.
While Israel or Zionism had nothing to do with the al-Nimr protest, signs distributed by the organizers accused Israel of fostering violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Some even preposterously accused Saudi King Abdullah of being a “Zionist agent” as chants decrying Israel were shouted through bullhorns and parroted by the protesters.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center condemns such bigotry and hate mongering and is committed to expose and combat it when it occurs.