Credits: SUN NEWS NETWORK
OTTAWA - Marc Garneau says he wouldn't go to the controversial Islamic conference Justin Trudeau will address next weekend.
Garneau, a Liberal leadership contender, says he doesn't like one of the sponsors of the Reviving the Islam Spirit conference because of its connection to Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group.
IRFAN-Canada describes itself as a humanitarian organization, but lost its charitable status in 2010 after the Canada Revenue Agency found it had given $14.6 million in resources to Hamas.
Past participants of the RIS conference have had strong ties to terrorist organizations, including one co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.
"As an MP I'm ready to meet with any group at any time to talk about our shared values of peace, tolerance and equality," Garneau said. "In this case, I have concerns. One reason I wouldn't attend myself is because I'm not sure (these people) share those same values."
Garneau wouldn't say Trudeau should cancel his speech but acknowledged there are significant criticisms of it and Trudeau would be well-advised to address those.
In Jonquiere, Que., Trudeau refused to answer any more questions about his decision to speak at the event.
Previously, Trudeau said the conference is an opportunity to mobilize the youth vote and send a message to young Canadian Muslims that this is an open, tolerant country.
Jewish group B'nai Brith is so offended by Trudeau's upcoming speech, it requested a meeting. Trudeau denied the request.
Frank Dimant, the group's CEO, called on interim Liberal leader Bob Rae to intervene.
"Mr. Trudeau's speaking role at this convention alongside speakers who espouse views which are diametrically opposed to Canadian values - including support for wife beating - raises many red flags," he wrote in a statement. "He should not even be hesitating about responding to such legitimate concerns."
The Muslim Canadian Congress also voiced opposition. Its president, Salma Siddiqui, issued a statement calling on Trudeau to "learn how to distinguish between ordinary Canadian Muslims" and "Islamists."
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told QMI Agency he was taken aback by Trudeau's refusal to meet with B'nai Brith and urged the Liberal leadership hopeful not to "flippantly" dismiss the group's request to meet.
"I would encourage him to respond directly to these credible Canadian organizations who've raised concerns," he said, adding that both B'nai Brith and the MCC have strong records on human rights.