Muslim speaker barred from country, while Christian leader who calls Islam 'evil' is granted entry
(OTTAWA, CANADA - 10/05/06) - The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) today called on Minister of Immigration Monte Solberg to clarify an apparent double standard on barring controversial foreign religious leaders from Canada.
On June 12th of this year, following the decision to deny the entry of a British Muslim speaker, CAIR-CAN sent a letter to Solberg asking the federal government to clarify regulations on freedom of speech and the entry of clerics and international speakers.
"Minister Solberg has not given Canadians the courtesy of a response as of yet," said Karl Nickner Executive Director of CAIR-CAN.
A spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration said "we do not welcome hate-mongers in Canada" when referring to the government's decision to bar the British Muslim leader.
However, American Christian evangelist Reverend Franklin Graham is still scheduled to speak at the Central Canada Franklin Graham Festival ( http://www.grahamfestival.org/winnipeg/) in Winnipeg on October 20th, even after making public pronouncements that Islam is "a very evil and a very wicked religion" and that Hindus are "bound by Satan's power."
For more information about Graham's hateful comments, see:
None of the interest groups who called for the British Muslim to be barred from entry have spoken out about Graham's views or his visit to Canada.
"Based on the different reactions to the comments of both religious leaders, many Canadian Muslims are wondering whether a double standard is being applied," said Karl Nickner, CAIR-CAN Executive Director. "As Canadians, we must stand firmly against hate speech."
CAIR-CAN is a federally incorporated, non-profit organization working to empower Canadian Muslims in the fields of the media, human rights, and political activism.
CONTACT: CAIR-CAN Media Coordinator Sameer Zuberi at 613-795-2012, or CAIR-CAN Executive Director Karl Nickner at 613-254-9704 or 613-853-4111