Recent concerns, regarding Sami Hamdi’s scheduled speaking engagements at Canadian universities, were raised by groups seeking to silence pro-Palestinian voices. On February 8th, 2024, Mr. Hamdi addressed these concerns at his first successful event in Canada at Western University in London, Ontario.
Mr. Hamdi’s views have been misrepresented, particularly in reference to his alleged celebration of violent acts against Jewish individuals. We emphasize that the selective excerpt used to support this claim was taken out of context and twisted into a different narrative. His comments were part of a broader analysis of the systemic oppression faced by Palestinians, which cannot be accurately conveyed through isolated snippets.
In the video clip provided below from Mr. Hamdi’s recent lecture at Western University on February 8th, Mr. Hamdi delivers a nuanced examination of the Palestinian experience under the Netanyahu administration. His intention in mentioning the events of October 7th was not to celebrate violence, but to contextualize it within the broader framework of Palestinian oppression. Mr. Hamdi condemns loss of civilian lives and reaffirms that Muslims do not seek war. His clarification in the attached video confirms the baselessness of the allegations made against him and underscores the importance of understanding his remarks in their proper context.
Furthermore, Mr. Hamdi meticulously details the restrictions imposed on Palestinians, including the denial of access to justice, the imposition of checkpoints, and the control over airspace and borders. He explains that these conditions create a pressure cooker effect that inevitably leads to unrest and violence. This analysis is supported by numerous reports from international human rights organizations documenting the systemic oppression faced by Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
We strongly uphold the principles of freedom of speech and academic freedom, both of which are integral to Canadian society. While acknowledging concerns about hate speech, it is crucial to differentiate between legitimate discourse on geopolitical issues and inflammatory rhetoric. Suppressing diverse viewpoints undermines democracy and intellectual engagement. It’s in this spirit that we adhere to the guidelines outlined in the CMPAC Speaking Tour Event Disclaimer, which emphasizes the importance of respectful dialogue and the condemnation of any form of incitement or violence.
In light of these principles, we advocate for a more inclusive approach to addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on university campuses. Rather than resorting to censorship, we champion respectful dialogue that upholds the values of democracy, fosters academic freedom, and cultivates informed citizens capable of making positive societal contributions through their engagement with diverse perspectives.
Canadian Muslim Public Affairs Council
Encl. Video of a segment of Mr. Hamdi’s lecture presented at Western University on February 8, 2024.