Boycott Watch
March 8, 2004
Muslim groups boycotts Muslim speaker and calls for a Hate-Crime investigation because they don't agree with the views of a fellow Muslim
   Summary: Not agreeing with a speaker doesn't make his stance a hate-crime.
    Boycott Watch is a citadel of free speech. We believe that all voices need to be heard, and thus we challenge both sides of boycotts to prove they are telling the truth, and when one side, any side, does not tell the truth in a boycott, we publish it. Our reports have criticized both sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and since that topic is so emotionally charged on both sides, we are starting this story with this paragraph to clearly state we are not taking sides.

   Additionally, this report is not about taking sides in the Middle East conflict, rather, it is about the reactions of the people involved. While both sides don't care for the others words, there are a few facts that separate the reactions of each side to speakers they don't agree with, and that is what this report is about.

   A search on the Internet will reveal many Jewish and Israeli organizations that support the Palestinian viewpoint, but we have not been able to find even one Arab or Muslim organization that supports the Israeli stance. The Muslim speaker in the following Press Release, Abdul Hadi Palazzi, has made several lectures in the USA recently. Three Boycott Watch researchers attended one such lecture in Cleveland, Ohio in mid-February, 2004 because we wanted to hear a his perspective on Middle-East conflict, unaware that we would receive the press release below with a request by a Boycott Watch reader to look into it.

   Being the only Muslim we have ever heard of who is supportive of Israel, Boycott Watch asked Palazzi: "Do you have any fears of retribution from Muslims because of your stance toward Israel?" We were surprised by his simple and direct response "No."

   Palazzi was scheduled to speak in Hamilton, Ontario Canada weeks later, but his reception was marked with controversy. We were not surprised by the fact that he had opposition to his views, but rather that the opposition called for an investigation by the local police, and in particular the hate-crimes unit of the Hamilton Police requesting that Palazzi's speech be "closely monitored."

   A press release by Palazzi's critics about the Hamilton event questions if Palazzi is a PhD. We were informed that Palazzi is a professor in an Italian university, but have not yet attempted to verify the information. Palazzi was also advertised as being a Sheikh. Boycott Watch is not sure if the PhD and Sheikh title concerns are valid, but we also do not believe it is relevant to what this report is about - the reactions to a speaker who does not agree with ones views. The PhD and Sheikh concerns may just be name-calling which is something people do when they have no material substance to an argument and is one reason we are not addressing these concerns - Attempts to discredit ones opponent is dirty politics that does not serve advance any problem solving.

   Boycott Watch did not hear any hate words from Palazzi when he spoke in Cleveland, Ohio, but rather an historical examination of how the Arab countries were formed and how political lines were created. An observer in Hamilton, Ontario noted that after the lecture, Palazzi was accused of many things by his opponents, including that he is not a Sheikh nor does he have a PhD. The criticism of Palazzi was reported to be centered around him personally and not around his message. There were also screams from Muslims in the audience of "You can't be a Muslim - you can't be a Muslim." In essence, Palazzi's opponents were criticizing the messenger but not the message, or in this case the history presented - Palazzi's opponents did not challenge the content of the speech that they called for a hate-crimes investigation against.

   Boycott Watch therefore believes that the hate-crimes investigation call was done just to stifle free speech - the free speech of one of the few Muslims who do not agree with the standard political line taken by vast majority of Muslims.

   This may be a case of each side calling the others extremists, true, but the interesting part is that Jews and Israelis around the world who criticize Israel have many organizations to choose to join, yet Palazzi virtually stands alone in the Muslim world when it comes to criticizing Arabs and Muslims regarding their stance toward Israel and is targeted by his fellow Muslims for a hate-crimes investigation.
Start of original press release:

[The Zionist organizations invite Anti-Muslims and hatred speakers as Abdul Hadi Palazzi and Irshas Monji to their synagogue and community centers, than they claim anti-Semite is in raise!!!!!! reality is they encourage Anti-Muslims and Hatred speeches]



   The Canadian Islamic Congress has issued a strongly critical statement in response to B'nai Brith Canada and other Canadian Jewish groups (including Betar Tagar, the McMaster University Zionist student club, and a private foundation called Hadar) for sponsoring the controversial Italian lecturer Abdul Hadi Palazzi, who was scheduled to speak at Hamilton-area synagogue.

   Palazzi, claiming a Ph.D. of doubtful origins, is a self-styled Muslim convert who on previous speaking engagements in this country, asserted that "more than 80 per cent of mosques and Muslim organizations in Canada [including the CIC] are controlled by extremist members of the Muslim Brotherhood." He has also directly accused the majority of Canadian Muslims and their mosque communities of being controlled by active terrorist elements.

   In response to Palazzi's continuing allegations, CIC national president Dr. Mohamed Elmasry stated categorically that "the CIC absolutely has never been, and never will be, affiliated with or controlled by any group or organization outside Canada."

   "I said it before and I'll say it again. These are very emotionally charged times and many Canadian Muslims and Jews are deeply affected by what is happening in the Middle East," he continued. "To bring this known anti-Islam campaigner into our midst is bad enough and tantamount to hate-crime, but to use synagogues and respected educational institutions to give him public voice is simply irresponsible. It undermines all efforts to foster good relations between two significant Canadian faith communities. What we need now, more than anything, is understanding and sensitivity."

   "It would be wise for B'nai Brith to cancel Mr. Palazzi's Canadian tour," suggested CIC national vice-president Mrs. Wahida Valiante. "Both Muslim and Jewish communities in our country are going through difficult times. It is dangerously inappropriate for anyone to exploit such a sensitive situation."

   The CIC has also informed the hate crime unit of the Hamilton Police, requesting that Palazzi's speeches in the area be closely monitored.

   Palazzi has been publicly discredited by a number of European Muslim organizations in recent years; others have disavowed any association with his viewpoints or activities.

   Following his Canadian tour, Palazzi is scheduled to visit Chicago, Texas, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts, speaking at a number of American universities.

Dr. Mohamed Elmasry,
(519) 888-4567 Ext. 3753 (O),
(519)746-7928 (H),
(519) 577-2267 (Cell),

Mrs. Wahida Valiante,
(905) 881-8024,
End of original press release:

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