When Professor Elmasry a panelist on Canadian talk show “Michael Coren Live” answered Coren’s question “Anyone and everyone in Israel – irrespective of gender-over the age of 18 is a valid target?” with, “Yes, I would say,” Elmasry broke a pledge he made to Allah. In his 60th birthday essay, Elmasry valuating life as he looked towards retirement and death wrote “So in counting down to 60, then to my early retirement days, and eventually my journey on to the Hereafter, I pledge simply to be a good person. God is my witness. “
His employer, the University of Waterloo said they found their Professor’s statement “abhorrent and conflicts with the University’s values” and that “freedom of speech will be responsibly exercised by members of its community.” The question then asked is does this or any University really know their professors.
Waterloo lists Elmasry in their Department of Engineering and Computer Faculty. Elmasry, on his University Of Waterloo page bio, credits himself as a “University of Waterloo Advisor, Middle East Studies Option,” “Advisor, Middle East Studies Option,” and a “Member, UW Middle East Studies Program.” In his essay, “What Is the Koran? A View From Within” he identifies himself as “a faculty member of Middle East Studies department at the University of Waterloo, Canada,” and “founding co-ordinator of the Muslim Study Group there.” Head of University of Waterloo’s Human Resources Martin Van Nierop said, “first, I ever heard of that.”
Scripted for his apology, Elmasry said of “the biggest mistake in my 30 years of public life,” “I apologize for any public remarks I made which offended Canada’s Muslim, Jewish, Palestinian and Arab communities and Canadians at large.” “It has always been a core belief of mine that killing civilians… is an immoral act of the worst kind and I will never change in this conviction.” Elmasry’s apology was offered after Halton police officer Sgt. Jeff Corey announced Elmasry is being investigated for hate crimes due to his comment.
Elmasry said people who heard him “misunderstood therefore causing the reported onslaught of offence.” Elmasry’s attempt to deny his dastardly deed compounds his original wrongdoing. No, professor, the public heard statements alluded to, undetected before now, in earlier writings made by a man mentoring college youth dependent on him to shape their minds. It is well known, it is only a matter of time before a closet haters reveals themselves. Not everyone is as open a book as Archie Bunker. Elmasry’s only “mistake” was exposing himself on national television. He is a professional communicator, with a 100 page CV listing more than 400 articles, a contributor to CIC’s monthly bulletin, writer of books, press releases and editorials he posts on the Internet. He has been regularly featured in leading Canadian newspapers, including the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, as well as in local-regional dailies such as the K-W Record and was a frequent guest on TV and radio shows in Canada, Egypt, and Kuwait, also lecturing on Islam and Microelectronics in more than 35 countries including China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia, the Arab world, Europe, United States and Canada.” As president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, he is not presenting personal opinion but is expressing views on behalf of many Palestinians, along with influencing readers. One can only wonder what other statements, Elmasry, a past recipient of the Volunteer Service Award by the Ontario Interfaith Council on Spiritual and Religious Care and Chaplaincy Services, and by the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services, makes when teaching, offline, off TV, and off print, his brand of Islam to churches, schools, universities and social organizations. One can only wonder if the awards he tarnished will be withdrawn.
The Canadian Islamic Congress, in describing their president’s remarks as “regrettable and misunderstood” and not accepting Elmasry’s resignation, denies their Statement of Faith Elmasry is bound to. It reads “To promote, advance, co-ordinate, facilitate, demonstrate and implement the teachings and practices of Islam in accordance with the Statement of Faith herein amongst Muslims, Non-Muslims, and Islamic organizations in Canada and abroad.” Codicile (o) requires Elmasry “to support, encourage, promote and develop a mutual respect for religious freedoms for all faith communities in Canada and abroad in order to protect against religious discrimination and persecution.”
In the CIC’s Friday night Bulletin, “in the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,” February 23, 2001, Elmasry, in his essay, “Are Some Human Lives Worth Less Than Others?,” addressed the killing of Massoud Ayyad, a terrorist leader responsible for kidnapping and shelling of Israeli villages. Elmasry failed to present journalistic balance when he failed to include a statement from Israeli Deputy Defense Secretary Ephraim Sneh telling CNN, “Since we could not arrest him… in this case we had no option but to hit him in the way we did.” Instead, Elmasry wrote, “This, and similar assassinations (for what else can they be called?) of Palestinian civilians, activists and officials represents a long-standing, macabre Israeli policy of liquidating any and all opposition to the occupation of historic Palestinian lands. It is a blatant violation of international law and human rights. It is state-sanctioned terrorism.”
Then, in another CIC bulletin essay titled “Does the Palestinian Right of Return mean the End of Israel?” Elmasry used these words “the myth that Israel is a Jewish state.”
In yet another piece, Elmasry provided a slanted descriptive in “it should be stressed here that Jewish intelligentsia abroad, including those in Canada, no longer have the luxury of rejecting from the sidelines the Palestinian Right-of-Return, nor the full Israeli withdrawal of the Occupied Territories captured in 1967, including Arab East Jerusalem. The question Canada and America are asking much too late is “who really are these professors teaching our students today?” Duke. Berkley. Pace. Columbia. York. U of T. Waterloo.
Professor Elmasry is an open book to anyone who cares to take time to investigate him beyond his impressive CV. He writes, “as a Canadian Muslim, I sincerely long and pray for peace and justice in the region.” He explains where his opinions come from “This is based on my own personal experience as an eyewitness of the 1956 Israeli invasion of Egypt, the 1967 Israeli attack on Egypt, the Egyptian-Israeli war of attrition of 1968-70, and as an active observer of the Israeli-Arab conflict since my immigration to Canada more than 30 years ago.” And in case, you are not listening carefully. Taba. The Hilton. 13 Israelis dead. Munitions smuggling. Caves. Any investigator worth their salt will confirm how memories fade over years, become anecdotal and less factual. Often, the memories give individuals a mark of distinction others cannot dispute. After all, they would be countered with charges of ‘how would you know you were not there!”
Harold Davis, national president of B’nai Brith Canada, saying, “(Elmasry) does not respect the sensibilities of either the Muslim or Jewish communities, nor the wider Canadian public,” is in itself insensitive. Almost nine months prior, January 29th, 2004, a much beloved Torontonian, Yechezkel Chezi Scotty Goldberg was the first Canadian murdered in a bus bombing in Israel. Now his name is chiselled in stone on a memorial wall overlooking Israel while he lies in a grave atop Jerusalem’s cemetery, Har Hamenuhot.
According to Elmasry’s remarks that “Israel has a people’s army and a draft and therefore they should be considered legitimate targets. They are part of the occupying power, and Palestinians consider them targets for suicide bombers as well as other” means 41 year old Goldberg was approved kill. Goldberg was not. He was an innocent civilian. And he was killed by a bomb murderer not by a suicide bomber. Goldberg’s murderer climbed on board Egged Bus 19 “with deliberate intent to kill others. That is the definition of murder. Deliberate Intent. Suicide involves taking one’s one life. Only. There is no martyrdom in murdering Dads and grandmothers. And babies. Aside from not being Israeli military, Goldberg was a psychologist, with a multicultural clientele, commuting to his office in Jerusalem, a father of 7 orphans ages 2 to 17 now growing up without a dad, without a grandfather for their children. Goldberg will never be able to write his 60th birthday editorial like Elmasry did. Nor will he be around at age 60 to present the rest of the story in balance to Elmasry’s perspectives.
Elmasry’s essay, “What Is The Koran?” includes praise for lessons on “the true meaning of (and how to exercise) tolerance, love, mercy, justice, peace, worshipping, happiness, success, pleasure, knowledge, trust, piety, equality, sincerity, hope, gratitude, patience, truthfulness and humility. And the true meaning of (and how to avoid) suffering, arrogance, envy, miserliness, greed, jealousy, hypocrisy and heedlessness.” In his section, “The Hardest Choice is Moderation” Elmasry writes “extremism is non-productive and 4. It harms others.”
Yes, Professor, it does.
As does asking, in his essay, “Are Some Human Lives Worth Less Than Others?,” “why in the eyes of some, are Palestinian lives worth less than Israeli ones?” Elmasry writes, “a mother’s love for her children is shared just as intensely by women from every corner of the globe,” He asked further “Are we supposed to believe for an instant that Palestinian mothers grieve less than Jewish ones?” Chezi Goldberg’s 74 year old mother, a Canadian, shakes her head everyday saying, as her son’s 42nd birthday approaches, “This is not real,” inviting this question of Elmasry, the Canadian Islamic Council and the University of Waterloo, “Are we supposed to believe for an instant, Professor, that Jewish mothers grieve less than Palestinian ones?” Goldberg’s mother already celebrated his birthday with him. No balloons. No presents. No streamers. Weeks before his birthday. Mountaintop in Jerusalem, a few weeks ago, standing with a new friend, reading Tehillim. The new friend understands the callousness of Elmasry’s words. Yitzchak Ben Yishai lost his daughter 1 ½ years ago. Shoshi, then age 15, was murdered by a terrorist. She’s not the age 18 benchmark Elmasry set for ‘kill approved.” Does it really make a difference when her brother, her best friend, struggles to understand tragic loss. Shoshi was American.
Ben Yishai knows as the Goldberg’s know, as the extended family knows, and the friends and communities- the death destroys the living who are left behind never putting pieces of their lives back in place. But then isn’t that the goal of terrorist murder Elmasry promoted on Coren’s show. Elmasry made Canada his homeland over 30 years ago. His abject insensitivity to Canada’s grieving community over Chezi Goldberg’s loss raises questions of loyalty, allegiance to the Maple Leaf flying throughout the land, supported with the words of “O Canada,” first sung June 24, 1880, “My home and native land, True patriot love, I stand on guard for Thee.”
“Hatemongering” attacks against a group is speech that should not be protected by law, Elmasry said in November 2002. Elmasry told worldnetdaily.com, “Of course free speech is OK but when free speech actually produces psychological assault on people’s identity and people’s psyche, it does more harm than good. You have to draw the line somewhere and say this is very harmful to society at large.” The college professor went further to say “such public expression is especially harmful “for teen-agers, who become suicidal and lose self-esteem. And people who don’t have a strong faith, they lose sleep, and hate crime actually produces discrimination, and people lose their job because of that.” And for making statements like that, too.
Elmasry knew the penalty of the statement he made on Coren Live. Elmasry had already responded to an assertion Rev. Jerry Falwell broadcast on American television across Canada that “Muhammad is a terrorist,” knew violators of Canada’s genocide and hate-propaganda law are subject to prison terms of up to two years. Elmasry researched the law barring people from making public statements that “willfully promotes hatred” against groups “distinguished by color, race, religion or ethnic origin” before he demanded Canada “prepare legal action under the country’s hate-crimes laws to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission against all Canadian channels that broadcast Falwell’s interview. The Elmasry Incident should become a platform upon which Canada’s Parliament, the CIC, the University of Waterloo, along with other organizations Professor Elmasry represents, come together to adress the abuse of Free Speech Canada affords, in this case, by an educator. Possibly bring Egged Bus 19 to the University of Waterloo, York University, University of Toronto and other colleges, allowing students of all cultures to see firsthand the handiwork of bomb murderers Elmasry encourages. After all, busloads of Muslim Canadian students drove across the border to participate in the Sunday march up 7th Avenue protesting Bush and the Republican National Convention. I photographed three York students, middle fingers extended, screaming obscenities at a brick façade, a wall on Madison Square Gardens. Maybe screen, bombing victim NY independent Jack Baxter’s film “Blues By The Beach” filmed at Tel Aviv night spot, “Mike’s Place” before it was bombed. This way students who go clubbing can see for themselves bomb murderers do not target Jews. They do not warn everyone but Jews to run away. They murder everyone. Let the students speak firsthand to Baxter. Let them see how his left arm hangs and he drags his left leg as he crosses a room to greet guests or how he bends and twists his head trying to hear conversations. The bomb detonation blew his ear drums. And let the students hear Baxter tell them himself, he is not a Jew. He is a Catholic.
Martin Van Nierop, at the University of Waterloo, said the University already has a Center for Conflict Resolution. It would be fitting for Elmasry to do “hard time” there, barred from writing and publishing anything other than writings promoting tolerance. In grade school, the punishment was called “writing lines. Hard steps must be taken to assure “hate mongering” must never be promoted in Canada. Taking a lesson from conciliation training, firing Elmasry for speaking “his” truth on Coren’s show, would invite litigation. But if the University addressed the issue of a faculty member deliberately misrepresenting his or her faculty title for personal advantage, well, that’s a horse of a different color……… Elmasry is a bright man. He knows the impact of his words when he writes them. More books, articles, speaking engagements. Unpopular press. He knew the impact of stating his words on national TV. And he knows the professional consequence of misrepresenting his credentials at a Canadian college. Canadians should take advantage of Elmasry publishing his personal details on the internet and exercise their voice to tell him whether or not “one unintentional mistake” does “wipe out an exemplary record of more than 30years,” professor. firstname.lastname@example.org
After all, he knows the price of breaking his pledge to Allah.
BIO: Carrie Devorah is an investigative photojournalist working in DC. Her areas of focus are faith, homeland security and terrorism. Devorah is a certified crime analyst, profiler and mediator. Devorah says, “I welcome the opportunity to address students in Canada about terrorism. I am Canadian. Toronto born and raised. I would like to be seated next to Professor Elmasry and have him, if he can, repeat his words to me. To my face. I am a casualty of terrorism. I want Canadians to look at me when I describe the horrors from a phone call that begins with “Your brother was murdered in a bus bombing in Jerusalem. I want them to hear from me, I don’t hate the family of the man who murdered my brother. And I want them to hear from me the father of the murderer condemns his son’s actions and the people who encouraged his son to murder himself. Because it is murder. If we, the families don’t hate, then why does Elmasry. Why do these students?. Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg is Carrie’s younger brother.