The cleric of a Muslim community group behind a proposed condo and townhouse complex in a predominantly Jewish area was one of the key figures in an Islamic school that used teaching materials that disparaged Jews and encouraged boys to keep fit for jihad.
Imam Syed Mohammed Rizvi and the East End Madrassah were the targets of a hate-crimes investigation in 2012, and although charges were not laid, a York Region police report said a review of 30 school syllabus books found portions that “challenged some of Canada’s core values” and “suggested intolerance,” even if they were not criminal.
Mr. Rizvi and the Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat (ISIJ) have applied to the City of Vaughn to redesignate and rezone their property at 9000 Bathurst St. in Thornhill, north of Toronto, in order to build two 17- storey apartment buildings and more than 60 three-storey townhouse units. The group wants to build the 28-acre development around the Jaffari Community Centre mosque, which is on land they have owned for about 20 years.
- Jason Kenney visited Toronto-area Islamic centre tied to organization that disseminated anti-Semitic literature
- ‘Our teachings embrace and celebrate Canadian values’: Toronto Mosque condemns criticism of Islamic school
- Toronto Islamic school will not face charges over anti-Jewish curriculum: police
- Yasmin Patel: Anti-Semitism charge a shock to East End Madrassah
- Toronto Islamic school apologizes for ‘anti-Semitic’ curriculum likening Jews to Nazis
About 700 people turned out for a public meeting to discuss the proposal on Tuesday night, though the focus was on zoning and density, rather than religion.
“This is absolutely a municipal argument about land use and zoning change,” said Rom Koubi, interim chair of the Committee to Preserve Thornhill Woods.
Two speakers who were opposed to the development were kicked out of the meeting for what were considered racist remarks, he said, one of them for having brought up the hate-crimes investigation.
“We’re not opposing the fact that they’re going to build their own community,” said Mr. Koubi. “But it needs to satisfy the way the neighbourhood looks today.”
He and his fellow speakers for the committee spoke at the public hearing about their concerns in regards to zoning, real estate, traffic, education, infrastructure, finances, and parking. “Nowadays, every single gathering that they have, whether it’s a prayer, whether it’s a high holiday, we’re experiencing about 2,000 to 3,000 car overflow outside of their facility,” Mr. Koubi said.
The ISIJ declined any interviews Wednesday regarding the proposal and refused to comment on Imam Rizvi’s connection to the current controversy and the police investigation two years ago.
‘It’s their land and they’re going to do whatever they want on it’
The police report in 2012 confirmed some of the school materials originated from books published by Iranian foundations, one of which is an alleged front for the Islamic regime. The Iranian-origin passages referred to Jews as “crafty” and “treacherous,” and contrasted Islam with “the Jews and the Nazis.” Police held Imam Rizvi and Principal Masuma Jessa responsible. “As leaders in their respective roles, the two must accept responsibility for failing to appropriately screen the learning material,” the report said. “Although not held criminally responsible, the complaint has raised a legitimate concern and has prompted change.”
ISIJ president Shabbir Jeraj said in a press release Tuesday that the group intends to design the development while thinking of the broader community. “As such, we envision that many parts of the development will be open to all residents of Vaughan and the surrounding areas, including the playing fields and tennis courts.”
On the side of the development at Tuesday’s meeting, Mr Koubi counted six speakers and the developer Shafiq Punjani, who told CTV News the property would be “open to everybody.” The remaining speakers, more than 40, were there to speak out against the development.
Mr. Koubi said his group had met with the ISIJ multiple times and the last meeting took place at the Jaffari mosque where they spoke with Mr. Punjani, who is listed on the ISIJ website as the chair of their planning advisory board. According to Mr. Koubi, the meeting ended with them being told that this had been decided for their community, that they already had given the public more leeway than they planned to and that “it’s their land and they’re going to do whatever they want on it.”
Mr. Koubi said Vaughan Councillor Sandra Yeung Racco wants to create a task force to seek a compromise that works for both sides of the issue. After 120 days have passed since the time of the application, the ISIJ can take the issue to the Ontario Municipal Board and it will be out of the city’s hands.
More, from here:
CANADA: Outrage over proposed MUSLIM-ONLY condo complex in a primarily Jewish neighborhood
Residents of a Thornhill community are speaking out over a proposal to construct two Muslim low-income residential highrise buildings in a low-density neighborhood. The proposed condos would be built at the Jaffari Community Centre, at 9000 Bathurst Street next door to Ner Israel Yeshivah, in the Thornhill Woods Community, and would contain 377 units.
Is that statue giving the town the middle finger?
CityNews (h/t SusanK) Residents who live in the Thornhill Woods neighbourhood, located right beside the community centre, say they don’t want the area to become overcrowded. The Jaffari Centre has submitted a proposal to turn its 30-acre property into a high-density Muslim community which would include the highrise buildings as well as 61 townhouses.
Shabbir Jeraj, president of the Jaffari Centre, told CityNews this kind of expansion is going on everywhere in the area. Neighbourhood residents say they are also concerned because some of the proposed housing will be subsidized, which they believe may decrease their property value.
Residents opposed to the plan have started an online petition which had garnered over 2,500 signatures by Monday evening.
A meeting has been set up on Tuesday for community members to express their concerns over the development.
Join the JDL to oppose Muslim Only Condos in the Heart of Thornhill
Attend the public hearing
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Vaughan City Hall
2141 Major Mackenzie Drive
BACKGROUND ON JAFFARI CENTER:
JDL TORONTO, ONTARIO — (Marketwire – Nov. 8, 2012) — Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) — the organization which lodged the complaint with police in May 2012, is pleased to learn the Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat of Toronto (ISIJ) — tied to the Jaffari Center in Thornhill, Ontario, and the Toronto East End Madrassah have been put on notice by the York Region Police (YRP) that the antisemitic hate contained in their school curriculum is not acceptable, and reassured by a YRP report suggesting Canadians must examine our level of tolerance for allowing such offensive ideology, that is in conflict with our country’s core values, to be taught to our children.
Although criminal charges are not being laid in this instance, the YRP Report makes it clear that further promotion of antisemitic material, resulting in a cumulative effect of hate propaganda, may lead to a different outcome:
“The antisemitic hate contained in the curriculum of Toronto’s East End Madrassah was blatant; it is frightening to learn that this revolting content, including a topic on “The End of Jewish Plots and Treacheries,” is being taught to young children; their minds are being poisoned and I cannot imagine how these youngsters will one day become grown ups capable of functioning as tolerant and respectful adults in a multicultural society,” explained Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of FSWC. “Although criminal charges are not being laid in this case, I think it is incumbent upon the Toronto District School Board, and indeed all Boards of Education who lease their property to private schools, to investigate the content being taught on their premises to ensure an incident of this nature does not happen again.”
“What I don’t understand is where the odious comparison of Jews to Nazis fits into the history books of these organizations,” says Mr. Benlolo. “If they are truly relying on ancient texts, what is the justification for referencing Nazism other than as a form of Holocaust revisionism?”