Western University Muslim chaplain dismissed for online comments

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Western University has dismissed a Muslim chaplain who served as a volunteer counsellor for Muslim students.

Sh. Aarij Anwer was removed from his position after making comments online that the London, Ont., university stated “do not align with Western’s commitment to peaceful and respectful dialogue.”

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“As a university, we are committed to fostering an environment where all members of our community can feel safe, welcomed, heard, and supported,” the statement goes on to say. “This commitment is jeopardized when our leaders, even those in volunteer positions, make divisive statements.”

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While it’s not clear which statements the university is referring to (National Post has reached out for confirmation), Sh. Anwer had an exchange with former conservative senator Linda Frum for her comments on a vigil in Toronto titled “Glory to our Martyrs.”

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“In 2015 PM Harper tried to make it a crime to glorify and promote terrorism. Trudeau blocked his efforts and here we are,” Frum wrote. “There exists no law in Canada to prevent this orgy of celebration for the beheading of babies and the rape and execution of little girls. Time for a new PM.”

Sh. Anwer’s has pinned a tweet reply to Frum, which reads: “Stop spreading lies of beheading babies or rape of little girls. It’s been debunked. No one is celebrating the murder of Israeli babies.

Palestinians are mourning the death of their babies. It’s incredible how Israel sympathizers simultaneously are the oppressor and the victim.”

The Imam has also been vocal about his support of Sarah Jama, the Hamilton MPP who was ousted from the NDP caucus following her comments on the Israel-Hamas war.

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“Every person, whether you agree with Sarah Jama or not should be outraged by how she has been treated,” Sh. Anwer said. “She’s turned into a black sheep for what she said that, again, had nothing that called for violence or nothing that called for hatred.”

Jama has come under fire for the post she made on Oct. 10 decrying the “occupation” of Palestine without mentioning the attack by Hamas militants on Israeli civilians three days earlier.

She also said the goal should be to “end all occupation of Palestinian land and end apartheid.”

Western University said it is looking for a new Muslim chaplain and is in consultation with Muslim community leaders “to seek their advice.”

“We will ensure our Muslim and Palestinian community members feel our support and can share their thoughts,” it added.

Additional reporting from Canadian Press

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Originally posted 2023-10-27 15:33:39.