Cops warn rabbi about hosting activist Pamela Geller Sun TV, May 1st, 2013
TORONTO — York Regional Police threatened to remove a rabbi as one
of the force's chaplains if he hosted a controversial anti-Islamist
speaker at his Thornhill, Ont., synagogue.
Insp. Ricky Veerappan
of the force's diversity, equity and inclusion bureau, confirmed he and
officers from the force's hate crimes unit met with Rabbi Mendel Kaplan
of the Chabad Flamingo Synagogue on Tuesday.
concern about an upcoming talk to be given by Pamela Geller, a vocal
critic of radical Islam. She's protested past plans to build a mosque
near Ground Zero in New York City, and has posted anti-jihad messages in
that city's subway system.
Subsequent to his meeting with
police, Kaplan cancelled Geller's May 13 talk, which was sponsored by
the Jewish Defence League (JDL) — a hard-line advocacy group which had
rented space in Kaplan's synagogue for the event.
"I think the
police are turning a blind eye to who they should be keeping an eye on,"
said the JDL's Meir Weinstein, referring to radical Islamists.
Weinstein said another location will be chosen for Geller's appearance.
said he told Kaplan that Geller's speech "would not be endorsed by York
Regional Police" and that the rabbi's role as a force chaplain would be
thrown into question if he were to allow the event.
"If he did
(host Geller), then we'd have to reassess our relationship with
(Kaplan)," Veerappan said. "We serve the needs of the entire community.
Some of the stuff that Ms. Geller speaks about runs contrary to the
values of York Regional Police and the work we do in engaging our
Veerappan said a member of York's Muslim community,
whom he wouldn't identify, brought Geller's scheduled talk to the
attention of police.
York police enlist eight chaplains of
different faiths to counsel police officers and their families. Among
them is a Muslim chaplain, Imam Abdul Hai Patel.
A Geller speech scheduled for early April at the Great Neck Synagogue in Long Island, N.Y., was also cancelled.
March, the University of Toronto hosted controversial Muslim lecturer
Tariq Ramadan, who has also spoken in Toronto at the annual Islamic
faith conference, Reviving the Islamic Spirit. In October, Pakistani
politician Imran Khan, a controversial critic of the U.S. war on terror,
spoke in Brampton, Ont. Leila Khaled, a Palestinian revolutionary from
the 1970s, is set speak at University of British Columbia on May 4.
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