The pastor of a Windsor Baptist church that held an anti-Islamic lecture last week says he could have chosen his words more carefully when he prepared promotional pamphlets for the series he titled The Deadly Threat of Islam, which prompted hate crime allegations.

Pastor Donald McKay, who heads the 350-member Campbell Baptist Church on Wyandotte Street West, said Tuesday he did not anticipate the lecture, delivered by self-proclaimed former terrorist and Christian convert Zachariah Anani, would generate so much controversy and media scrutiny.

“(The pamphlets) absolutely could have been worded differently,” he said. “We’re not interested … in causing unnecessary polarization. I did not think this would have the type of media backlash that it has.”

More than 120 people, including members of Windsor’s Muslim community, packed the church last Thursday to hear Lebanese-born Anani — who is not a member of the congregation — say that Islam is a religion of war being brought to Canadian soil. He also said that Islam teaches “ambushing, seizing and slaying” of non-believers, especially Christians and Jews. Many attendees challenged Anani’s views in a heated debate.

Members of the Windsor Islamic Association have filed a formal complaint with the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has sent letters to Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant asking for a prompt investigation into Anani’s lectures under Canada’s hate crimes legislation.


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