The following letter was sent to the Minister of Public Safety Hon. Ralph Goodale on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC):
To the Honourable Minister Ralph Goodale,
We are writing you today to communicate our serious concern regarding an orchestrated and dangerous campaign of defamation against our organization, the Iranian Canadian Congress, and peace advocates in our community. Not only is this campaign designed to spread falsehoods about members of the Iranian-Canadian community and the Iranian Canadian Congress, but the baseless accusations and defamation spread widely by individuals leading this campaign have put the safety and security of Iranian-Canadian activists in danger.
In their most recent action, organizers of this defamation campaign sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and leaders of the opposition parties in an attempt to discredit the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) by repeating these defamatory comments. In their letter they accuse the ICC, a Canadian non-profit and volunteer-based organization, of being controlled by certain government entities in Iran and of being a lobby organization for the Iranian government. In their letter they do not provide any evidence to support their serious claims. We categorically reject these false and baseless accusations.
Furthermore, we have seen evidence that this campaign is being directed from outside of Canada – the letter itself was originally published and promoted on the website of a preacher in Australia, Imam Tawhidi, who first asked individuals to join the defamation campaign as signatories to the letter. It is widely reported by Australian media that this individual, Mohammad Tawhidi (commonly known as Imam Tawhidi), has a controversial history and ties to radical figures.
Unfortunately, the baseless accusations published in this defamation campaign, distributed through a local paper called Shahrvand Publications, have been referenced by Conservative Senator Linda Frum and Conservative MP O'Toole to attack the Trudeau Government and the Liberal Party of Canada’s stated policy of constructive engagement and diplomacy with Iran. Again, both parliamentarians did not offer a single piece of evidence to support their claims, even when our organization asked them formally to publish their evidence. Not only have these accusations and allegations been repeated without providing evidence, but their reference by these two Canadian parliamentarians constitutes a grave danger to our community in a time when racial hatred and xenophobia is on the rise.
The false information distributed through this defamation campaign has resulted in ICC members and executives, who all work on a volunteer basis, and hardworking activists in our community being threatened and verbally harassed in public and in social media.
We call on your Ministry, and the security and law enforcement agencies under your Ministry’s supervision, to immediately investigate the activities of the individuals involved in this defamation campaign. Specifically, we ask you to investigate the role of the Australian citizen Mohammad Tawhidi (AKA Imam Tawhidi) in leading this campaign of defamation and verbal harassment against our organization and our community and seriously consider lodging a complaint with the Australian government regarding their citizen's attempt to sow discord in Canadian civil society.
Attached you can find the content of the recently published letter and the names of the individuals who have signed the letter as leaders of this defamation campaign against the ICC and peace activists in the Iranian-Canadian community.
We are ready to fully cooperate with your department or any of the Canadian security agencies to answer any question you may have or to provide further evidence about the activities of the individuals involved in this defamation campaign.
As a Canadian non-profit community organization, we are dedicated to defending the rights of our community members as defined under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We will defend our right to promote and present our opinions with respect to the policies of our beloved Canada and we will not allow an extreme defamation campaign to silence our community's voice.
Iranian Canadian Congress
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of The Official Opposition
Mr. Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
Ms. Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Hon. Senator Peter Harder
Hon. Senator Yuen Pau Woo
Hon. Senator Larry Smith
Hon. Senator Linda Frum
Hon. MP Erin O’Toole
MP Garnett Genuis
MP Ali Ehsassi
MP Majid Jowhari
Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Parliament of Canada