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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau defends his decision to attend Islamic conference sponsored by organization linked to Hamas


The Liberals came under fire on Wednesday over Justin Trudeau’s participation in an Islamic conference whose sponsor was stripped of its federal charity status last year for supporting Hamas, the outlawed terrorist organization.

The Liberal leadership candidate has defended his scheduled speech at next week’s Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in Toronto, and the Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations condemned attempts to “smear” the gathering.

But in a letter to Liberal Party of Canada president Mike Crawley, Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre CEO Avi Benlolo said Mr. Trudeau’s presence at the event would lend credibility to supporters of Hamas.

“Numerous members of FSWC have conveyed their alarm to me; they are wondering if there is a deeper meaning to his participation, and whether the Liberals are aligning themselves with a belief system that is contrary to traditional Liberal values,” the letter reads.

On Thursday, the Muslim Canadian Congress said it had sent letters to interim Liberal leader Bob Rae and Irwin Cotler, the party’s Justice and Human Rights critic, asking them to encourage Mr. Trudeau to skip the convention.

“At a time when liberal Muslims across the world are fighting rightwing Islamists, it is sad to see the aspiring leader of the Liberal Party of Canada throw his weight behind those who would snuff out liberalism and stifle free speech in the name of Islam,” MCC president Salma Siddiqui said.

The conference, the largest of its kind in Canada, has been held annually for a decade but concerns surfaced after a Quebec blogger noted that one of the event’s sponsors isIRFAN-Canada, which lost its charity status in 2011


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