Canadian U. Restricts Access to Islamic Proselytizing Course

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A non-Muslim man was denied access to a course offered by a Canadian university that teaches Muslims how to proselytize.

Huron College, located in London, Ontario, which is partially funded by the Canadian government, offers a course called “The Muslim Voice: Islamic Preaching, Public Speaking and Worship,” which was, according to the syllabus, open to all students — those taking the course for credit and those auditing the course. The only prerequisite was that the student be an undergrad.

Moray Watson, a student at the university, enrolled in the course as an auditor. He was, in fact, the first student to sign up for the course. Watson related that he has been concerned about the growing element of Islamism in London, Ontario and wanted to see what was being taught in the course.

The course is new to the college this year. It is being taught by Ingrid Mattson, who holds the position of the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies. The chair is endowed by the Muslim Association of Canada and the Virginia-based International Institute of Islamic Thought — two organizations with direct links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Professor Mattson herself is a former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that was named by the FBI as a Muslim Brotherhood front as early as 1987. In 2007, ISNA was designated as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a charity shut down by the U.S. government for financing Hamas. During the trial, the U.S. government listed ISNA as one of the “individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.”

In an interview with PBS in September 2002, Mattson said that she did not see “any difference” between Christian leaders criticizing Islam and al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden quoting “Islamic theology to justify violence against Americans.” 

In a talk at a 2000 ISNA conference in Canada, Mattson praised the work of jihadist Maulana Abul A'la Maududi, who said in his 1980 book Jihad in Islam:

“Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it … Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single State or a few countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution.” 

As soon as Watson enrolled in Mattson’s course, he was told he would not be allowed in, ostensibly because he was only auditing the course. The syllabus was then changed to reflect this new prerequisite –that the the course must be taken for credit. In addition, a new line was added to the syllabus stating that the course was “open to Muslim men and women who offer religious leadership and/or speak publicly about Islam on behalf of their communities.”

To Watson, it was clear that the latest prerequisite was put in place to keep non-Muslims out of the course.

“It was the speed at which I was rejected,” Watson said, noting that another auditor was allowed to take the course for credit. “I [received] an email telling me [the] course was full [due to those taking the course for credit]. … I was never given the option of taking [the] course for credit.”

Then next day, Watson spoke to the Dean of Theology, who refused to take any action. Interestingly, the dean, Rev. Canon Todd Townshend, is an instructor of pastoral theology and welcomes non-Christians into his course.

Although Huron College began as an Anglican seminary, it is now a part of the University of Western Ontario. Yet, it still offers courses that teach future priests how to preach.

A further appeal by Watson to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) — an ombudsman whose job it is to help students file complaints about equity — was met with a "frosty reception." Not only did the CAO support Watson's exclusion from the course, but Watson was told flat out that the course syllabus was being changed "because of me."

Watson says he does not object to a course that teach Islamic preaching. However, if it is being taught at a publicly funded school, it must be open to all students. If not, he says, it should being taught in a mosque or some other private venue. 


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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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