From December 23rd through 25th, Toronto will play host to the 15th Anniversary "Reviving the Islamic Spirit" convention, which will feature a number of prominent extremists. They will be joined by several non-Muslim speakers, including Rabbi Michael Lerner and Pastor Bob Roberts.
Any moderate speakers ought to reconsider their participation. They will be sharing a platform with Islamist clerics and activists who have in the past advocated for violence, extremism, racism, and hate. Among the worst include:
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah: Shaikh Bin Bayyah, in addition to his many government positions in Mauritania, is also a former vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, which is headed by notorious radical cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi. In 2004, while Bin Bayyah was a member of the IUMS, it issued a fatwa declaring that violent resistance against the US presence in Iraq was a defensive jihad that did not require the authority of a Caliph, and was therefore "a duty on every able Muslim in and outside Iraq". Bin Bayyah himself defended Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in 2011.
Siraj Wahhaj: Imam Wahhaj is a former member of the Nation of Islam, and is most notorious for being an unindicted coconspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (largely on the strength of his long association with the "Blind Sheikh," Mohammed Abdel Rahman, and the fact that several of Wahhaj's congregants were convicted of assisting Abdel Rahman with the attack). Wahhaj's extremism has continued since then, with repeated statements in support of extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir and other radical groups. Wahhaj has denounced gay Muslims attempting to establish a mosque in Canada: "Those brothers and sisters in Toronto must now allow those so-called Muslims to open up a house in the name of Allah ... under lesbianism and homosexuality. ... If they don't stop it... we'll go to Toronto and we won't let them establish it." Wahhaj further condemns American laws for not prohibiting "fornication and adultery."
Yasir Fahmy: Fahmy is the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, one of America's most extreme Muslim Brotherhood mosques. Fahmy's social media pages are littered with posts from Muslim Brotherhood pages and videos by prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Fahmy has circulated videos on social media by the extremist cleric Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani, the Libyan grand mufti accused by the Libyan parliament of supporting terrorism. (In 2014, Al-Ghariani was forced to leave Britain after publicly congratulating the Islamist armed group Libya Dawn for overthrowing the newly-elected government of Libya.) Fahmy has also posted videos mocking the moderate Muslim speaker Usama Hasan for his support for the theory of evolution and his love for peaceful Sufi Islam.
Linda Sarsour: Ms. Sarsour is a noted Palestinian-American activist. Sarsour is a frequent participant and fundraiser for Al-Awda, a pro-Palestinian group that endorses terrorism, routinely calls for the destruction of Israel, and uses the Hamas slogan, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." In 2014, Sarsour tweeted a map falsely claiming that the territory of the British Mandate was Palestinian land (a map that MSNBC once showed on the air; they later acknowledged that it was false and apologized). Sarsour also claimed that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 2009 "underwear bomber," was a CIA provocateur. (She was confusing Abdulmutallab with someone else.)
Other speakers include members of the Muslim Brotherhood and religious leaders who endorse marital rape. It is disheartening that Muslim events such as "Reviving the Islamic Spirit" continue to give a platform to such hateful speakers.
Truly moderate speakers should think carefully about with whom they want to associate.