Islamic Relief Canada CEO, In Hill Times Column, Carefully Whitewashes Hamas’ Crimes Against People Of Gaza

June 18, 2024

On June 6, The Hill Times ran an opinion column by Islamic Relief Canada CEO Usama Khan entitled: “Ottawa can no longer ignore rising death toll in Gaza.”. In his commentary, Khan led with an impassioned plea to Canadians that they must begin to care about the “43,000” children who are currently orphans in Gaza. He cited the fact that prior to Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attacks, “Gaza already had 26,000 orphans. Since then, UNICEF reports at least 17,000 more.” These numbers are truly striking, but without context, what do they tell us? Well what they certainly don’t indicate is that the 17,000 figure represents children who were either orphaned or separated by their parents, a matter that Khan ignored.

Although it is clear that Khan, and others like him in the anti-Israel activist space, are attempting to lay the blame for these numbers squarely at the feet of Israel, one needs to ask whether this is reasonable, or even possible. After all, 26,000 orphans prior to the onset of the war that Hamas launched sounds like a shocking figure. But given that Israel has not had a permanent presence in Gaza in nearly 20 years, and that on October 6 ­– prior to Hamas’ massacres –  there were no ongoing hostilities, a piece of the puzzle is missing.

Indeed, one might believe that he is going to provide context when he cited the discovery of children buried “at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, Gaza, after being unearthed from a mass grave, revealing grotesque acts of decapitation, dismemberment, and other atrocities.”  That is, until he made it obvious that he believes Israel is responsible for these horrors. This baseless claim has since been soundly rejected by both the IDF and impartial sources, and the graves have been demonstrated to be the result of Palestinians themselves burying their dead. Given that there have been repeated operations against Hamas in the area of the Nasser Medical Complex, and that the terror group has a long-standing presence in the immediate area, it’s not unreasonable to question what involvement Hamas had in the deaths. Especially when Hamas leaders continue to applaud the high death toll of their people, seeing it as beneficial to their cause when civilians are killed.

But Khan, shockingly, does not once hold Hamas responsible for any civilian death. Despite the group verifiably using children as human shields as a way of driving up western sympathies, he laid the totality of the blame at Israel’s feet. He cited the recent deaths at a refugee camp outside Rafah as an example of an Israeli “attack…[that] resulted in 45 deaths, including children who were dismembered.” He, of course, failed to mention that the Israeli operation was a targeted one, with extremely precise munitions, hundreds of feet from the camp, and that the civilian deaths were apparently due to weapons and explosives being stored under the camp by terror operatives which led to secondary explosions. Any civilian deaths in the camp are the responsibility of Hamas, and no one else.

But that didn’t stop Khan from demanding Canada take action against Israel, as though that will have any meaningful impact on the death of Gaza’s children. He claimed that “the continued transfer of arms [to Israel] supports a military apparatus implicated in unconscionable crimes against children, placing Canada in violation of the UN Convention, and potentially complicit in war crimes.” And while any civilian death is a tragedy, especially that of children, allowing Hamas to continue their reign of terror by cutting off Israeli arms support is not going to do anything to improve the living situation in Gaza.

How can anyone honestly claim to care about the children of Gaza, and not be vehemently advocating for the overthrow of Hamas? How can one claim to care about civilians while staying silent on the atrocities Hamas carries out against their own people? The children of Gaza deserve much more than activism in their name that ignores reality in order to simply demonize and destroy Jews at any cost.

Usama Khan’s misinformation-laden opinion column raised serious doubts about his credibility as any kind of commentator, particularly from a supposedly “humanitarian” organization, Islamic Relief Canada. That the Hill Times gave him a platform to spread his anti-Israel propaganda is not surprising, but is indeed, disturbing.

Take action now by sending a letter to the editor to the Hill Times. Send letters to: news@hilltimes.com.

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