MPP Gila Martow deserves an apology from NCCM and Jaffari Centre

On May 21, 2020, Canadian Jewish Record published an article concerning PC MPP Gila Martow’s apology to the Jaffari Islamic Centre for her tweet about CD4HR activist Firas Al Majim. This apology was prompted by NCCM (National Council of Canadian Muslims) a watchdog group against Islamophobia. According to the article, “A Jewish MPP and an Islamic centre in her riding have kissed and made up following two days of pointed verbiage.”

Canadian Jewish Record is a new online publication, the brainchild of Bernie Farber, who is co-founder and publisher, Ron Csillag, co-founder and editor, Zack Babins, associate editor, Josh Tapper, associate editor and Michael Marmer, photo editor.

Did Canadian Jewish Record get it wrong? Should the article perhaps have read “Gila Martow deserves an apology”?

NCCM accused Martow of failing to contact the Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat of Toronto (ISIJ) before issuing her statement. “As would have been abundantly clear if MPP Martow had endeavoured to undertake the appropriate diligence that a reasonable person would have expected by actually calling the Jaffari Community Centre, she would have been immediately informed that this video and message was made by someone who had no authorization to do so,” said Mustafa Farooq, CEO of NCCM. Farooq further said, “Putting out a press release without getting all the facts straight – and without even endeavouring to do so – is simply unacceptable.”

The allegation made by NCCM was based on ISIJ’s statement. “We do not know the individual who recorded himself on our premises at the Jaffari Community Centre in the City of Vaughan,” said ISIJ of Toronto Vice President, Shafiq Ebrahim. “The individual came to our premises without our authorization and we did not request nor allow this recording to occur,” he added. 

NCCM believed ISIJ’s statement was reliable. Did NCCM “undertake the appropriate diligence” to verify the ISIJ’s statement about “not knowing” Firas Al-Najim? 

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs found contradicting accounts. On March 31, 2019 Firas Al Najim published the letter he sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. According to this document, Shafiq Ebrahim,the Vice President of the Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat of Toronto, endorsed Firas Al Najim’s letter. 

A few years ago Firas Al Najim issued a statement in which he wrote: “Eid Mubarak… special thanks for all the Hospitality and hardwork in all centers from Al Zahra Center, Imam Ali Center, Al Huda Center, Al Mostafa Center, Masumeen Center, Jaffari Center, Imam Al Mahdi Center…” 

Moreover, On May 19, 2020 Canadian Defenders For Human Rights (CD4HR) issued the following statement:

UNFORTUNATELY @isijoftoronto @JaffariCC Administration have lied & dissociated from our manager @Islamic_HR [Firas Al Najim] out of fear of the #Zionist politician @GilaMartow & the zionist influential bullying network. Al Najim had permission & is embedded in the community. DETAILED RELEASE SOON

Interestingly, in their statement both NCCM and ISIJ referred to Firas Al-Najim as “this individual” failing to mention his name, the organization he runs (CD4HR), his previous highly controversial statements against Israelis, Zionists and Jews let alone failing to condemn his speech in question. They completely ignored that.

It appears that the Canadian Jewish Record chose the wrong headline. MPP Gila Martow deserves an apology from NCCM and ISIJ.

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