UPDATE OCT 14: Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray has responded in the comments section below that he is not booked to speak at the Carry the Light conference. Instead, he says he “will meet with the people who organized [the conference] tomorrow morning as I believe dialogue and reaching out is important.”
OCT 14: A Muslim cleric who has been banned from Australia, the UK and Germany for his advocacy of death for homosexuals, and who was at the centre of a controversy over an Islamic conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this summer, will be speaking at a similar conference at the University of Toronto Oct 15.
Dr Bilal Philips, a preacher who has called for death by stoning for homosexuals and adulterers, will be speaking at the Carry the Light conference being held at the university’s Medical Sciences Building.
Another speaker at the conference, Dr Abdullah Hakim Quick, has said that homosexuals want “to take us down with them” by spreading AIDS and has decried the “filth” of Christians and Jews.
Quick is also scheduled to speak at the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) conference on Oct 22, which was originally booked at the Sheraton Centre. The IERA Conference is still searching for a venue after the Sheraton Centre evicted it in response to an article in the Toronto Star that listed the record of controversial speech against gays and Jews made by that conference’s keynote speakers.
The Carry the Light conference is “a message of peace and love and obedience,” says Hayat Chowdhury, one of the organizers.
“We are talking about how to understand Islam and peace and give the message of peace to the people,” Chowdhury says. Philips and Quick are not expected to talk about their controversial anti-gay and anti-Jewish beliefs, he says.
“We are not dealing with these sorts of things,” Chowdhury says. “You’ve mentioned it ahead of time. There will be nothing like that.”
Egale was not aware that Philips and Quick would be speaking at the Carry the Light conference, executive director Helen Kennedy says. Egale had asked the Toronto Police Service Hate Crimes Unit to investigate the IERA conference.
A call to the University of Toronto’s room-booking service was not immediately returned.
The organizers of the IERA conference have issued an action alert urging members to email the Sheraton Hotel, decrying its decision to cancel the conference’s booking in response to “pressure brought to bear by the Jewish Defence [sic] League and LGBT activists.”
The action alert labels groups opposed to the conference as “extreme activists.”
“We are an ummah Alhamdulillah [community, praise to God] that is much larger than Jewish and LGBT activists and as an ummah both in Canada and globally we are already contributing immensely to the social welfare of our society and so our voices cannot be drowned out and the truth will not be silenced with the permission of Allah,” the alert reads.