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Canada Anti-Islam group postpones rally at Nathan Phillips Square

14:36  10 august  2018
14:36  10 august  2018 Source:   thestar.com

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On August 11th, the Calgary-based Worldwide Coalition Against Islam (WCAI) is holding a rally at Nathan Phillips Square at 2PM. They hope for 200 to attend, including the most physically aggressive far-right groups like the Soldiers of Odin, Proud Boys, and the Northern Guard.

Welcome to nathan phillips square . Welcome to one of Toronto’s most celebrated attractions. Toronto’s famous ice rink at Nathan Phillips Square . This rink has been a quintessential Toronto experience for generations.

a group of people standing in front of a building: An anti-Islam rally planned for Saturday at Nathan Phillips Square has been postponed following backlash from city councillors, organizations and officials. © Richard Lautens An anti-Islam rally planned for Saturday at Nathan Phillips Square has been postponed following backlash from city councillors, organizations and officials.

An anti-Islam organization has postponed a rally scheduled for Saturday after drawing widespread condemnation from organizations and Toronto city councillors.

The World Coalition Against Islam, a Calgary-based far-right group, planned to gather at Nathan Phillips Square for what would have been its first rally in Ontario. It was set to mark the one-year anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., where Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a far-right protester rammed his car into the crowd.

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He said the rally had nothing to with immigration, Islam , or other grievances of the far-right and was squarely focused on Prime Minister Trudeau’s policies. A line of police separate two groups of demonstrators at Nathan Phillips Square on Oct. 21, 2017.

Join us at 1:00pm at Nathan Phillips Square on August 11th to say #NOCharlottesvilleInTO !pic.twitter.com/pMw1ugKb0E.

WCAI posted a public statement on Facebook Thursday afternoon calling people “snowflakes” for reacting negatively to the rally that was to fall the day before the anniversary of the fatal Charlottesville car attack, which the group says was a total coincidence.

“Due to people being snowflakes about the August 11 date coincidentally being on the same day as Charlottesville last year and groups pulling out and there being a Bollywood festival scheduled at Nathan Phillips Square, I have decided to postpone the rally,” the statement read.

WCAI had an active presence in Calgary, where they were denied permits by city officials who cited the group’s “hateful” messages.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, whose ward includes Nathan Phillips Square, called the Aug. 11 rally “a disappointing reminder that, as far as we have come as a society, many still cling to violent prejudice.”

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Four people have been charged after two groups of demonstrators faced off against each other amid a heavy police presence at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto. Charges laid following alleged assault on journalist at anti -M-103 rally .

On August 11th, the Calgary-based Worldwide Coalition Against Islam (WCAI) is holding a rally at Nathan Phillips Square at 2PM. They hope for 200 to attend, including the most physically aggressive far-right groups like the Soldiers of Odin, Proud Boys, and the Northern Guard.

In her statement, Wong-Tam condemned the group, who she says “reject the very foundational values” of the country, but added that she stands by their “right to march and protest.”

Mayor John Tory also spoke out Thursday. “Hatred and acts of violence against any identifiable group have no place in this city,” he said.

“City staff assure me that no permit has or will be issued for any rally in Nathan Phillips Square, regardless of when the hate rally is being organized for,” he said in the statement.

Toronto city council spokesperson Paula Chung said the group did not apply for a permit to rally at the square, but didn’t need to. Protesters and counter-protesters are both allowed to gather at the square, she said.

Several groups also condemned the public appearance of WCAI. The Steelworkers’ Toronto Area Council and the United Jewish People’s Order were organizing a counter-protest in the same area.

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Nathan Phillips Square , Toronto, Ontario. 9,948 likes · 914 talking about this · 190,823 were here. Nathan Phillips Square is where Torontonians gather

Members of several far-right, nationalist and anti -immigration groups are expected to attend the rally at Nathan Phillips Square outside City Hall on the anniversary of the Neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and other community organizations had planned to hold a news conference Friday at city hall to denounce the rally. The news conference has been cancelled in light of the postponement.

In a combined statement Thursday afternoon, the Muslim council and race relations alliance “welcomed” the news that the rally had been rescheduled, but noted that postponing the rally means it could still happen at a later date.

“While we welcome the postponement of the planned rally, we note that the organizers have indicated the possibility of rescheduling it for a future date. As such, we will continue to monitor and alert our communities to any such event,” National Council of Canadian Muslims executive director Ihsaan Gardee said.

“The planning of this event, which was due to fall on the first anniversary of the racist, neo-Nazi gathering in Charlottesville, U.S., gave us all a disturbing insight into what can happen when ignorance, racism and Islamophobia join together with the intention of dividing our communities. It is critical that we do not become complacent in our rejection of racism and other forms of hate,” said Urban Alliance on Race Relations president Nigel Barriffe.

The Muslim council says it has a record of a “significant spike” in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes happening across the country — especially in the GTA.

WCAI has not announced a second date for the rally.

Premila D’Sa is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @premila_dsaClaire Floody is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @claire_floody

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