The University of Toronto is being pressed by Jewish organizations to cancel an Islamic seminar course taught by scholar Abdullah Hakim Quick due to his public anti-Semitic and homophobic comments. The 18-week course is under attack by groups such as The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center and Hillel of Greater Toronto.
“The unfortunate truth is that when you have speakers like this, that are divisive, it hurts communities,” said Avi Benlolo, the president of the FSWC. He hopes that our university will take the necessary steps in either cancelling the series or putting it on hold for further review.
On his blog, Quick defended his controversial comments by remarking that his words were taken out of context; he wrote, “I was asking God to heal the spiritual corruption that afflicts some members of religious groups.”
He has also described homosexuals as being “one of the most dangerous groups coming up to the surface”.
However, on his blog, Quick argued that he developed a social service agency for Muslims in Toronto where he had personally counselled against the terrible violence inflicted upon homosexuals through bullying and states. “I publicly spoke out against it,” claimed Quick.
FSWC claims that by cancelling this event, the University of Toronto will not hurt free speech, but will rather defend the rights of homosexuals and Jews.
In 2006, the University of Toronto allowed FSWC to hold an event called “Know Your Radical Islam Week”, where speakers had proclaimed that Arabs follow a “culture of death”. The event went on with high alert by Campus Police.
Following Benlolo’s remarks, Quick said, “I am not anti-Semitic; my track record in Toronto is clear. In the 80s and 90s I did scores of interfaith and anti-racist programs. I have never had a problem like this until an extremist group in London took my words out of context. I have made a public apology to all those who were hurt by the distortion of my words, and I sincerely believe that we have other more important issues to deal with in this society than chasing unfounded statements and trying to hurt each other.”