Anti-Islam group postpones rally at Nathan Phillips Square

By Premila D’Sa and Claire Floody
Toronto Star | August 9, 2018

An anti-Islam organization has postponed a rally scheduled for Saturday after drawing widespread condemnation from organizations and Toronto city councillors.

The World Coalition Against Islam, a Calgary-based far-right group, planned to gather at Nathan Phillips Square for what would have been its first rally in Ontario.

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The National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and other community organizations had planned to hold a news conference Friday at city hall to denounce the rally. The news conference has been cancelled in light of the postponement.

In a combined statement Thursday afternoon, the Muslim council and race relations alliance “welcomed” the news that the rally had been rescheduled, but noted that postponing the rally means it could still happen at a later date.

“While we welcome the postponement of the planned rally, we note that the organizers have indicated the possibility of rescheduling it for a future date. As such, we will continue to monitor and alert our communities to any such event,” said Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

“The planning of this event, which was due to fall on the first anniversary of the racist, neo-Nazi gathering in Charlottesville, U.S., gave us all a disturbing insight into what can happen when ignorance, racism and Islamophobia join together with the intention of dividing our communities. It is critical that we do not become complacent in our rejection of racism and other forms of hate,” said Nigel Barriffe, president of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations.

The Muslim council says it has recorded a “significant spike” in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes happening across the country — especially in the GTA.

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