Islamic Lecturer Who Has Posted Hateful Antisemitic Propaganda On Social Media Featured As Prominent Guest At MuslimFest

On July 7-9, MuslimFest kicked off in a number of Canadian cities, including Mississauga, Ottawa and London.

The festival, now in its 20th year, is billed as the world’s largest Muslim arts and culture program of its kind in North America and features a variety of speakers and programs, including comedians, artists, musicians and a sampling of different cuisines.

One headliner this year, Mishari bin Rashed Alafasy, or Shaykh Mishary as he is known among followers, was a prominent Kuwaiti preacher, singer and imam, and, according to promotional materials, was part of “An Evening of Inspiration With Sheikh Mishary Alafasy” at MuslimFest.

But Alafasy hasn’t limited himself just to Islamic teachings or songs. He also has a long and sordid history of making comments that we regard as being antisemitic.

In August 2020, Alafasy posted on his personal Twitter account – which currently numbers 15.1 million followers – about how a number of Muslim-majority countries had signed peace agreements with Israel, including Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but rather than celebrating the peace deals, Alafasy made his views known, writing in Arabic: “There is no benefit in normalization with the treachery/betrayal of the Jews. No matter what [countries] signed agreements with them.”

HonestReporting Canada has independently verified the translation of Alfasy’s words from the original Arabic.

In the same post, Alafasy then quoted a Quranic passage, which read “The one with whom you made a treaty but then they break their pledge every time, and they do not fear Allah.”

In our view, Alafasy’s hate targeting Jews is not a new phenomenon; his antisemitic posts stretch back years.

In April 2011, Alafasy wrote in Arabic on Twitter that “[The] characteristics of the Jews: their eagerness to wage wars and [spreading] corruption in the land.”

In one Arabic-language Twitter post from July 2014, during a war between Israel and Hamas, the Gaza Strip-based Islamist terrorist group, Alafasy beseeched God to defeat not Israel, but the Jews.

“O Allah! Revealer of the Book, Disperser of the clouds, Swift at reckoning, Defeater of the Confederates, help/ give victory to our brothers n Gaza, and defeat the Jews with your power, O The All-Strong, O All-Mighty,” Alafasy’s Tweet read.

In the same Twitter post, Alafasy included a link to an Arabic-language YouTube link which included him reciting religious supplications, including the words “O Allah…show us the wonders of Your might applied on them, the killers of the messengers and prophets…tear them apart, O Allah!…slay them one by one and spare not one of them.”

On May 13, 2021, during another armed conflict between Hamas and Israel, Alafasy posted the same religious supplication to his popular Facebook page, which currently boasts 22 million followers.

In 2012, Alafasy posted another religious supplication to his YouTube channel (which currently has 8.89 million likes), where he asked Allah to bring total destruction on “polytheism and polytheists,” “the Zionists, and the atheists,” asking for Allah to “slay them one by one and spare not one of them.”

In 2006, as Israel was battling wildfires that spread into the country’s third largest city, Haifa, Alafasy took to Twitter to reportedly celebrate that Israel was on fire. The Jerusalem Post reported at the time that he wrote in Arabic: “Good luck to the fires. #Israel_IsBurning,” accompanied by a smiling face icon and various photographs of the daily fires across the country. In another tweet, he wrote that the blazes were “due to the prevention of the calls of the muezzin in occupied Palestine.”

Despite these repeated hateful posts on his various social media channels, Alafasy was nevertheless invited to participate in MuslimFest 2023. His Facebook page shows him touring downtown Toronto before the program began.

According to promotional flyers, Alafasy’s visit is also presented by Penny Appeal Canada, a registered Canadian charity which prominently lists Alafasy’s visit on their website.

Despite Alafasy’s hateful rhetoric stretching back more than a decade, and his promoted appearance at MuslimFest, local news media have failed to report on his history, instead promoting its art exhibits and workshops, but neglecting to mention Alafasy’s visit.

While news media outlets surely cannot apply scrutiny to every event or program that takes place, Alafasy is a prominent speaker who has tens of millions of followers across various social media platforms.

According to estimates, more than 70,000 people are scheduled to attend MuslimFest, indisputably making it a popular event, and certainly worthy of attention by news media attention, particularly with a high-profile, and in our view, rabidly antisemitic speaker playing a noteworthy role in the program’s schedule.

It’s time that local and regional news media outlets call attention to Alafasy’s hate mongering, and his presence at one of Canada’s largest festivals.

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