Controversial speaker will not present at York

Ustadh Daniel Haqiqatjou (The Muslim Skeptic YouTube channel screenshot)

An event sponsored by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at York University that was to feature a speaker with a history of anti-Semitic comments has been canceled.

The event, part of Islam Awareness Week, highlighted a talk by Ustadh Daniel Haqiqatjou.

The cancellation came after Jewish organizations complained that Haqiqatjou has a history of problematic attacks on Jews and homosexuals.

The Jewish Defence League (JDL) was first out of the gate, publicizing an email letter to York University president Rhonda Lenton that called on her to cancel the event while noting, “Jewish students on campus have been victims of anti-Semitism for far too long.”

The JDL cited several problematic statements made by Haqiqatjou, a Houston-born lecturer on Islam.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) also called on Lenton to cancel the on-campus event, arguing that Haqiqatjou was “known for anti-Semitic and homophobic rhetoric.” Haqiqatjou’s  speech in Mississauga, Ont. scheduled for March 5 was also cancelled, FSWC reported.

The Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation (CAEF) wrote to Lenton, also asking her to prevent the speaking engagement.

Permitting Haqiqatjou to speak on campus would point out “the travesty to Canadian values of inclusivity and tolerance and the likelihood that such speeches could jeopardize the safety of Jewish students on campus,” CAEF said.

CAEF also called on the university administration to “pay heed to the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which has been adopted by the Government of Canada” and which has passed second reading as Bill 168 in the Ontario Provincial Parliament.

Adopting the IHRA definition would “make it unacceptable to promote Jew-hatred, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on campus,” CAEF wrote.

Professors at the University of Toronto have made a similar request at the downtown school.

Andria Spindel, executive-director of CAEF, applauded the university administration for stepping in to cancel the Haqiqatjou speaking engagement.

Yanni Dagonas, acting chief spokesperson for York University said the educational institution “is committed to free speech and to ensuring a safe and respectful environment where community members are able to gather and express diverse ideas.

“After consulting with the relevant student group they subsequently decided not to proceed with the event,” he added.

At least not at York University. Writing on his Twitter page, Haqiqatjou told his followers that, “My Toronto, York University event, Why Islam Is True, is rescheduled to Thursday (March 5). Zionists and right wingers threatened to mob. The event will continue inshallah but due to security threats from Zionists, will be at a different venue.”

Noting the cancellation came only one day before the scheduled event, Spindel asked why York professors had not voiced their opposition to it.

“Where is the faculty that sees this happening and doesn’t speak up,” she said. “It’s time for the adults to speak up. These are children who need to know the difference between right and wrong.”

Haqiqatjou has an extensive presence online. His Twitter bio describes him as, “The Muslim Skeptic. founder of Alasna Institute, writer and lecturer on Islam and modernity.”

In a June 9, 2017 item on the Muslim Skeptic web site, titled Israeli Logic, Haqiqatjou compares Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler, using an image of a massive Nazi rally to illustrate his point.

A Jan. 10, 2019 story titled, Pornography as Israel’s Weapon of Choice, claimed that in 2002 Israel occupied Ramallah television stations and broadcast pornographic images. Calling Israel a “Zionist terror state,” Haqiqatjou wrote, “the promotion of base desires” is a “weapon that the agents of Shaytan (Satan) are using in full force today.”

In a Feb. 12, 2019 article in Muslim Skeptic, titled Naughty Ilhan Learns a Valuable Lesson From Her Zionist Handlers, Haqiqatjou not only claims that American Senator Ilhan Omar has “Zionist masters,” but that, “Zionists control every level of U.S. government.”

A Feb. 18, 2019 article in the same web page titled, University Prof. Claims Israel Is Testing Weapons on Palestinian Children, quotes an article in which a law professor cites Palestinians children for the claim that Israel tests new weapons on them.

The story includes a photo of Netanyahu juxtaposed next to one of Hitler, along with the claim that, “It doesn’t take a genius to see the parallel between what Israel is doing to Palestinians and what history books describe the Nazis doing in conducting cruel, inhumane, genocidal experiments on their captives.”

A March 30, 2019 article about Brunei’s crackdown on homosexuals is titled, Salute the Sultan! Brunei Reinstates Hudud for Sexual Deviance. In it, Haqiqatjou presents “just the news to cheer you up. The Muslim country of Brunei is implementing hudud (a penalty mandated by God) to crack down on sodomites and fornicators!”

He then quotes a Reuters story saying  Brunei is implementing “Islamic laws that would allow death by stoning for adultery and homosexuality.”