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Canada: Muslim groups say MPs won't be welcome in mosques until they call for Gaza ceasefire. Should MUIS also follow?



With Ramadan just around the corner, a national Muslim organization and several local congregations are warning members of Parliament they won't be welcome in their mosques until they call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, demand restoration of funding for the UN's aid agency and condemn what they call Israel's "war crimes."

An open letter signed by the National Council of Canadian Muslims and a number of prominent mosques, obtained by CBC News, says MPs who refuse to make these pledges publicly will not be "provided with a platform to address our congregations."

"If you cannot publicly commit to all of the above, respectfully, we cannot provide you with a platform to address our congregations," the letter says.

"Ramadan is about humanity. This Ramadan, more than ever, only those MPs who share in our commitment to humanity will be welcome to address us in our sacred spaces."

The letter, which is being released today, also says MPs must oppose "the flow of arms and military equipment" to Israel and stand up for "the right of Canadians to express solidarity with the Palestinian people without fear of reprisal."

The Canadian Council of Imams (CCI) is one of hundreds of organizations that signed the letter. CCI director Abd Alfatah Twakkal said the letter is about sending a "message" to politicians.

"It's imperative that those who are in positions of power and responsibility ... advocate in order to stop the killing," he said.

"We expect ... government officials that are elected and put in these positions to represent the population. We are saying that this is what we expect in terms of representing the Muslim community and others."

A woman sits on a white sack, with one child on her lap and another sitting next to her in Rafah.

Displaced Palestinians who fled their houses due to Israeli strikes gather in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 19, 2024. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)
Asked about the letter on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would visit any mosque to which he's invited.

"I'm going to continue to visit with Canadians right across the country to engage with communities, particularly the Muslim community that is hurting because of what's going on on the other side of the world," Trudeau told CBC's Wendy Bergfelt on Mainstreet Cape Breton.

The prime minister added that he would continue to push for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the release of hostages and more aid delivery to the region.

The war in Gaza began after the Oct. 7, 2023 attack in Israel by Hamas-led militants in which 1,200 people were killed, according to Israeli accounts, including several Canadian citizens. Israel responded with a military assault on the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 28,000 Palestinians, according to Palestinian officials.

Hamas took 253 hostages in the attack, according to Israeli officials. About 130 remain in Gaza.

The region is bracing for an imminent ground invasion of Rafah, the last safe space in Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claims Hamas fighters are sheltering there.

Late last month, the International Court of Justice issued an interim emergency ruling on South Africa's claim that the war in Gaza amounts to an act of genocide. The court ordered Israel to take measures to prevent and punish direct incitement of genocide in its war in Gaza, but stopped short of ordering a ceasefire.