Canada’s Muslims are a great asset to the country, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s message delivered to the Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention in Toronto which took place over the weekend.
“Canada is fortunate to have a vibrant Muslim Community in Canada,” Trudeau said in a special video message delivered to the convention on December 22, 2017. “Over the years, Muslim Canadians have thrived and greatly contributed to Canadian society, all the while maintaining important traditional connections to their homelands that have uniquely shaped the community’s rich cultural heritage.”
On May 26, 2017, in a recorded video greeting on occasion of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, Trudeau said: “This year, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, let us take the opportunity to honour the many cultures, traditions, and beliefs that make Canada such a wonderful place to live. Muslim Canadians help make Canada the strong, diverse, and inclusive country it is today.”
In an official statement marking Eid al-Fitr, Trudeau called Muslim contribution to Canada “invaluable” when he wrote: “Canada’s cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and sources of pride. This year, as we mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we recognize the invaluable contributions the Muslim community makes to our national fabric”.
One month later, on occasion of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, Trudeau reiterated his praise for the Muslim community. “This year, as we mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation, Eid al-Adha is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the important contributions the Muslim community has made to build the diverse, strong and inclusive country that we all call home”, he wrote in a statement.
In 2012, then Liberal leadership hopeful, Trudeau came under fire for participating in the Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention when it came to light that IRFAN-Canada, one of the conference’s main sponsors, had its charitable status revoked by Canada Revenue Agency for using deceptive fundraising tactics to send nearly $15 million in donations to organizations with ties to the Palestinian terror group Hamas.
At that time, Trudeau was criticized by moderate Canadian Muslims for participating in the event. Tahir Gora, director of the Canadian Thinkers’ Forum, called the convention an “international Muslim Brotherhood jamboree 4 Jihadis”. Salma Siddiqui, President of the Muslim Canadian Congress issued a press release, urging Trudeau to “stop pandering to the Islamists”.
“By attending the ‘Reviving the Islamic Spirit’ convention, Mr. Trudeau will be endorsing groups that have links to Hamas”, Siddiqui wrote. “He will also unwittingly validate homophobia and misogyny that is practiced widely by Islamists under the guise of multiculturalism. Those who advocate for the doctrine of Jihad and the imposition of Sharia should not have the backing or validation of any Canadian politician, let alone someone aspiring to lead the Liberal Party of Canada and who hopes to be one day the Prime Minister of this country”.
Rejecting moderate Muslim leaders’ request to cancel his appearance at the 2012 convention, Trudeau brushed off his critics and told the crowd that groups who attacked his decision to attend the gathering “only work to divide Canadians”. “It is short-sighted to pit groups of Canadians against one another”, Trudeau said. “It may make some feel good for a little while, or even work politically in the short term, but it is no way to build a country. It is not who we are.”