Bullying Tactics Ahead of the April 19th All Day Teach-In Hosted by CFTRL


I am concerned that the exchange of ideas through dialogue is being stymied and that pressure tactics are being placed on those who respect pluralism and wish to engage in open discussions affecting our nation. Last year, attacks on the CFTRL Teach-In forced us to hold our conference in secret. As reported by Barbara Kay in the National Post at that time: it is "becoming the norm for groups mounting events that deal with conservative ideas or politically incorrect topics, locales are being kept secret until the last minute to avoid potential violence from Antifa-style activists."

This year, we have experienced similar. In a Toronto Star article "Conservatives should be wary of the company they keep", Amira Elghawaby lays on strong attacks against public conservative individuals, organizations and events of which she thinks conservatives should shun, including CFTRL's all day Teach-In on April 19. Among the names she identified disparagingly were Dennis Prager, Stephen Harper, Daniel Pipes and myself. 

Our theme at this year's event ironically is "Building Respect for the Rule of Law in a Diverse Canada". Contrary to Elghawaby's attack on our conference, we feature true diversity in our Teach-In which includes Muslims who support our vision. It is with great regret this year the important voice of Ontario's Attorney General Doug Downey will be missing from our Teach-In at this critical time, as Mr. Downey has opted out. While Amira Elghawaby stated in her article that "it remains unclear why he [Mr. Downey] would have accepted in the first place". Many of us should be concerned that intimidation is alive and well. It is the hope and mission of our organization to restore dialogue, constitutional freedoms and Rule of Law, which we believe are being threatened.

Amira Elghawaby was the director of communications at the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) between 2012 to the fall of 2017. The NCCM is an offshoot of CAIR-CAN, the latter of which was founded as the Canadian wing of CAIR. CAIR is infamous for its efforts to attack and intimidate those it disagrees with. The Ottawa Citizen published an article in 2014 about the NCCM titled "Muslim group indulging in "lawfare jihad"?, when it investigated the NCCM threatening to sue Prime Minister Stephen Harper's spokesman, Jason MacDonald, for referencing it as "an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas."

The article also noted the testimony by counter-terrorism expert David Harris before a 2011 Standing Senate Committee, who pointed out that CAIR was named by the U.S. Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator connected to the "largest terror-funding trial in U.S. history, the Holy Land Foundation criminal prosecution." He noted that the prosecution "achieved numerous convictions." In 2003, CAIR-CAN Founder Sheema Khan swore in an affidavit that CAIR "has direct control over the character and quality of all activities" of CAIR-CAN.

CAIR-CAN changed its name to the NCCM in 2013 and declared "We remain the same organization our constituents and partners have come to rely on". Among its proud achievements was to push six Canadian cities to adopt "Islamophobia" charters. In 2017, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) released a resource guide book for Islamic Heritage Month with help from the NCCM where the definition of Islamophobia was unveiled. It was defined as "fear, prejudice, hatred or dislike directed against Islam or Muslims, or toward Islamic politics or culture."  

I believe that it is within the rights of Canadians to "dislike" any religion, culture, politics and to question it. As B'nai Brith stated prudently in 2017: "The TDSB definition, if enforced, could lead to punishment for students or teachers who display 'dislike' toward the persecution of LGTBQ people in the Islamic Republic of Iran, harsh restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia, and Palestinian terrorism against Israelis, all of which are examples of 'Islamic politics'". I welcomes dialogue about a range of important, but sensitive subject matters that is being driven underground. I believe in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms which includes freedom of speech.

Christine Douglass-Williams