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Group claims it will display Muhammed cartoons outside Thornhill Islamic centre
July 15, 2015
By Tim Kelly

A group that says it “defends Canadian values which often conflict with the Islamic way of thinking,” claims it plans to show cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in front of an Islamic centre in Thornhill this evening.

Rise Canada, which says “Islamic fundamentalists and hate mongers must be shown that Canada stands for freedom,” says it will reveal the cartoons in front of the Jaffari Islamic Centre at 9000 Bathurst St., from 8 to 9:30 p.m.

Shabbir Jaffer, vice president of the Jaffari Islamic Centre, when told of the plans to show the Muhammad cartoons by the group said: “We know that (Rise Canada) are diametrically opposed to things we stand for. We’ve not encountered anything like this before; we’re frankly at a loss to understand why we’re being targeted like this.”

Jaffer said the centre has been a part of Canadian society for over 30 years and said it has “always welcomed peopleā€¦ and we’ve met our civic responsibilities with pride.”

He also said, “it’s hurtful at this point,” that such an action would take place in front of the centre.

“It is still the month of Ramadan for us, a month in which we devote ourselves to fasting, prayer and helping the needy. I can only hope they won’t do anything unlawful like trespass on our property.”

Jaffer said there are no plans to confront Rise Canada this evening. He said if the group's members do step on Jaffari property, “we will have to take the necessary action,” though he wouldn’t specify what that action was.

In deciding to pick the Jaffari Centre to display the cartoons, Rise Canada spokesman Bikram Lambda said: “The best way to prevent violence against the showing of cartoons is by showing the cartoons. Once Islamists discover that they cannot stop us through violence or threats, they will stop being violent.

“We have more respect for freedom and our Constitution than we do for the over-sensitivity of any religion,” he said.

When Rise Canada displayed the cartoons several times over the last few months on Parliament Hill and in downtown Toronto, the group seemed to garner little to no media attention or reaction.

Many Muslims consider any depiction of the prophet Muhammad, even respectful ones, blasphemous. In January, 12 people were killed in a terrorist attack in Paris in the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, after cartoonists there had drawn images mocking Muhammad. In May, in Texas, a contest to draw Muhammad drew two gunmen who were shot and killed.