The RCMP’s national security specialists are investigating a Montreal Imam who at a pro-Palestinian rally last month led a public prayer calling for the extermination of “Zionist aggressors.”
Quebec RCMP are looking into whether Imam Adil Charkaoui committed a hate crime.
“I can confirm that the Quebec RCMP is in charge of this investigation,” said spokesman Sergeant Charles Poirier. “As this is an active investigation, I am unable to provide you with more details. I can confirm that no arrest has been made as of now.”
Earlier this month, Yves-François Blanchet, the leader of the Bloc Québécois, challenged the Prime Minister in the House of Commons about whether the Imam committed a hate crime while preaching at the Oct. 28 “Stop the Genocide in Gaza” rally in Montreal.
Mr. Trudeau replied that the preacher’s words at the rally were “unacceptable and antisemitic.”
“As far as criminal charges and prosecution are concerned, that is up to the police and the Public Prosecution Service, and I am counting on them to make the right decisions,” Mr. Trudeau said.
The investigation comes as Canada has seen a rash of antisemitic incidents following the start of the Israel-Hamas war last month.
On Nov. 9, two Jewish schools in Montreal were hit by gunshots in the night, one of them targeted again three days later. Montreal police are also investigating a suspected arson attack on a synagogue and Jewish community centre after the remnants of a Molotov cocktail were found.
And on Friday, Toronto police said it responded to a bomb threat at Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy. The private school was evacuated and the property was swept by police and dogs but they told the Globe and Mail they found nothing of concern.
Jewish groups have also raised concerns about rising antisemitism on social media.
On Thursday, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) wrote to Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of X, over the platform’s failure to take down antisemitic content – and for ignoring complaints about anti-racism consultant Laith Marouf’s derogatory posts, including some which tag Jews who comment on antisemitism.
On Friday, Mr. Marouf’s account on X, where he has been actively tweeting since the beginning of the Hamas-Israel conflict last month, was suspended. However, he appears to be tweeting from other accounts.
In its letter to Mr. Musk, Richard Marceau – CIJA’s Vice President and General Counsel – said some of Mr. Marouf’s tweets “can be classified as inciting violence and hatred against the Jewish community, Canadian elected officials and others.”
Shimon Koffler Fogel, CIJA president and CEO, said it has also complained to the police about some of Mr. Marouf’s tweets, which it believes breach Canada’s anti-hate laws.
Mr. Marouf, who has denied he is antisemitic, was the centre of a furor last year after the Montreal-based Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC), a non-profit body he worked for as a senior consultant, was awarded $133,000 by the federal Heritage department for an anti-racism project that involved him leading seminars across Canada.
The Heritage department cancelled the project and asked CMAC for its money back. It has not yet been returned.
Mr. Marouf declined the Globe and Mail’s request for a comment.
The Canadian government is under renewed pressure from Jewish groups and others to publish its promised online safety bill, designed to force social media platforms to take down hateful content swiftly.