York U Student Investigated for Anti-Semitic Website
CJC calls university’s slow response “deeply troubling.”
York University is taking “appropriate disciplinary actions” against a student being investigated by hate crimes units of the Ontario Provincial Police and Toronto Police Service for anti-Semitic postings on a conspiracy-theory website that advocate genocide against Jews.
The National Post first reported in a Tuesday, March 2 article that only months after Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley decided not to press ahead with hate crimes charges against Salman Hossain – a decision that Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie Farber partly blamed on the length of time it took to conduct the investigation – the York student is back on police radar for new online hate writings.
Farber said that CJC has received phone calls and emails from worried York students and parents.
“Quite rightly, they ask, “Am I safe going to York University with this guy still walking around?’,” he said.
York had been unable to meet face-to-face with Hossain as of Friday, March 5, but Keith Marnoch, York Media Relations Associate Director, said that a formal meeting was imminent.
“The individual that we’re talking about here has not responded and we have taken the appropriate disciplinary actions within our student code of conduct,” said Marnoch. “We’re working towards meeting with him. That’s really got to happen before all else.”
He added that if the student flatly refused to meet with York officials, “other things will have to be considered.”
In a letter to York President Mamdouh Shoukri send on the morning of Wednesday, March 3, Canadian Jewish Congress wrote, “Your administration has a clear responsibility to protect the students of the university from potential harm that may be caused by Salman Hossain. He hates Jews, wishes them ill, and has observed in his postings that there are ‘tons of Jews on campus.’ We are not prepared to assume that this is mere rhetoric on the part of Mr. Hossain.”
CJC urged Shoukri to suspend the student and not allow him onto campus pending the outcome of the police investigation.
Marnoch said that York was not in a position to elaborate on what other actions were currently being taken besides attempting to meet with the student.
However, York told the National Post that if the investigation were sent to an internal tribunal, Hossain could be suspended pending a decision in his case.
Marnoch did tell Shalom Life that York had “taken appropriate disciplinary action that we can to this point” to ensure that students feel safe and comfortable on campus. But, he would not specify what that action was.
“In order to ensure that this individual does participate in this process that we’ve got to go through on campus, we’ve taken the necessary steps to focus his attention on this issue,” said Marnoch.
It was not clear from speaking to Marnoch if the student is still allowed onto York campus.
“Certainly part of our student code of conduct is that we take action on things that are brought to our attention or where there are complaints,” he said.
Farber called York’s response so far a “semi-response at best” and said the fact that York refuses to confirm if Hossain has been suspended is “deeply troubling.”
“It aught not to take more than two days to realize that a person who advocates the mass murder of Jews and is a student at York campus does not belong on that campus,” Farber told Shalom Life.
He also said that CJC has so far not received any word from York on what the university has decided to do. “It is unconscionable,” he said.
Posting to Arizona-based website filthyjewishterrorists.com, Hossain describes Jews as “diseased and filthy”, “the scum of the earth,” “mass murderers” and “psychotic.” He further says that a “genocide should be perpetrated against the Jewish populations of North America and Europe.”
The website was down for a time after the story of Hossain’s online writing first surfaced in the media, but it now appears to be back up.
On it, Hossain has additional vile words for Christians and moderate Canadian Muslims which he refers to as “traitors.”
He also refers to the Toronto 18 bomb plot, the work of Islamist extremists, which he blames on Jews whom he accuses of inventing terrorism.
Shortly after the story broke, Hossain confirmed to a National Post reporter via a website that the posts in question were his, then later added additional comments, reiterating his support for genocide against Jews.
In an email exchange with the National Post, Hossain was adamant that he would continue with his hate campaign.
“Your hate laws are only being used to stop the truth from being spoken,” he told the newspaper. “I don’t fear telling the truth and I don’t answer to racist genocidal Jews who want to call me a hater, when Jews hate all non-Jews. It’s not my fault you people rape babies, then cry foul when someone exposes it.”
He wrote, “No one in this world can take our history away from us. Especially not the cancerous group of people calling themselves Jews or Judeo-Christians who are going to be genocided in the future.”
Hossain first came to the attention of Canadian counter-terrorism investigators three years ago after authoring online posts supporting terrorist attacks in Canada and calling for the killing of Western soldiers so that “they think twice before entering foreign countries on behalf of their Jew masters.”
The OPP hate crimes and extremism unit began an investigation that only wound up last year, at which point Ontario’s attorney general declined to press charges. The reason: by that time, Hossain had removed the incriminating postings, had not made hateful postings for over a year and was in the middle of rehabilitation.
CJC disagreed with the decision. A meeting with Attorney General Bentley led to an “assurance that there would be a new set of protocols developed by the attorney general’s office to make sure similar matters like this in the future would speed along,” said Farber.
“As irony would have it, the first real test case on this comes with Salman Hossain yet again,” said Farber.
He described York’s apparent slowness to react to the situation as “process gone mad.”
“They have a process in place in which they have to speak with him and then they have to call a tribunal,” said Farber. “But they stick so much to the process that they can’t see the forest through the trees.”
According to Farber, this is a case where the victimizer has become the victim.
“The victimizer becomes more important than the student body itself and it’s frustrating and it’s breathtaking,” he said. “I don’t think any reasonable person can look at this and not understand that this is a man who has to be dealt with under the law.”