The federal diversity minister says he is taking action over “disturbing” tweets from a senior consultant about an anti-racism project that received $133,000 from his department.
Ahmed Hussen has asked Canadian Heritage to “take a close look at the situation” after what he called “unacceptable behaviour” by Laith Marouf, a senior consultant involved in the government-funded project to combat racism in broadcasting.
Marouf’s Twitter account is private, but a screenshot posted online shows several tweets with his photo and name.
One tweet read: “You know all those noisy human feces bags aka the Jewish white supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to their place of origin, they will go back to being the hushed bitches of their (sic) Christian/secular white supremacist masters.”
Marouf declined requests for comment, but when asked about the tweet, an attorney acting on Marouf’s behalf asked that his client’s tweets be quoted “verbatim” and to distinguish between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘white supremacists’ Jews'” and the Jews or the Jewish people in general.
Marouf harbors “no rancor toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” attorney Stephen Ellis said in an email.
Last year, the Community Media Advocacy Center received a Department of Heritage grant of $133,800 to build an anti-racism strategy for Canadian broadcasting.
Marouf is listed as a senior consultant on the CMAC website and is quoted as saying that CMAC is “thrilled to launch” the “Creating an Anti-Racism Strategy for Canadian Broadcasting: Conversation and Convergence Initiative” with financial support from the program Heritage Action Against Racism.
He expressed his gratitude to “Canadian Heritage for their partnership and the trust they have placed in us,” and said that CMAC is committed to “ensuring the successful and responsible execution of the project.”
Hussen, who works at the Heritage Department, said in a statement: “We condemn this unacceptable behavior from an individual who works for an organization dedicated to combating racism and discrimination.”
The feds are investigating a consultant’s “disturbing” tweets about a government-funded anti-racism project. #CDNPoli #AntiRacism #antisemitism #CMAC
“Our position is clear: anti-Semitism and any form of hate have no place in Canada. That is why I have asked Canadian Heritage to take a close look at the situation involving disturbing comments made by the individual in question. We will address this with the organization accordingly, as this clearly goes against the values of our government,” added Hussen.
CMAC did not respond to a request for comment.
Irwin Cotler, a former liberal justice minister who was appointed as Canada’s special envoy on anti-Semitism by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said Marouf’s tweet referring to “open-mouthed bags of human feces” was “beyond limits”.
Cotler said he plans to discuss the issue with officials who work at Heritage’s department to combat racism.
Shimon Koffler Fogel, president and CEO of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said Canadians “should be horrified” by his tweets.
“Canadian Heritage must review its oversight policies to ensure that Canadian taxpayer dollars are provided to groups committed to cherished Canadian values and to combating racism, hate and discrimination,” he said.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 19, 2022.