Please find attached the letter that the ICC's Public Relations and Communications Chair Tayaz Fakhry wrote on behalf of the Iranian Canadian Congress to the Gatestone Institute protesting a defamatory and discriminatory article regarding Iranian Canadians published by the Institute's contributor Dr. Rafizadeh. The article by Rafizadeh was published by Gatestone Institute on April 27th, 2017.
Attention: Gatestone Institute editorial board, President Nina Rosenwald, Contributor Majid Rafizadeh
On Thursday, April 27th, 2017, an opinion piece by Majid Rafizadeh was published by the Gatestone Institute. In this piece, Rafizadeh makes dangerously discriminatory and xenophobic statements, questioning the loyalty of Canadians of Iranian descent to their countries and undermining the sanctity of their citizenship, while also making defamatory comments about the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC).
Rafizadeh’s piece is divisive, defamatory, and dangerous. Given the rising Islamophobic and xenophobic climate in the Western world, as well as the feelings of suspicion and fear surrounding Iran, it is highly irresponsible of Rafizadeh to paint citizens of Iranian heritage as disloyal and to question their citizenship. Such a narrative feeds into a hostile and suspicious environment--an environment that recently fuelled the tragic killings of two Indian men mistaken for Iranians by a white supremacist in the United States and recent racial attacks in Saskatoon, Canada, as well as another in London, Ontario against members of the Iranian-Canadian community.
In an equally unacceptable fashion, Rafizadeh makes baseless and defamatory statements about the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC), a non-profit, non-partisan, and non-religious organization serving to safeguard and advance the interests of Iranian-Canadians. He accuses the ICC of being a lobby organization for a foreign government without any evidence whatsoever. The Iranian Canadian Congress is a volunteer-run grassroots organization and we came to our positions, including our opposition to Bill S-219, after a long series of consultations and surveys of the community on whose behalf we advocate. The fact is that Bill S-219 would harm the interests of Iranian-Canadians, harm Canada’s economic and diplomatic interests in the region, and directly contradicts the Canadian government’s stated policy of re-engaging with Iran, a fact recognized by Global Affairs Canada itself.
The Gatestone Institute’s publication has the possibility of stoking discrimination towards individuals of Iranian heritage as a whole. Furthermore, it is a clear case of defamation against the Iranian Canadian Congress and disparages the reputation and character of its board of directors. We ask that the Gatestone Institute refrain from publishing defamatory material against our community and our organization and take greater care in the future as to what it publishes on its channels. We also ask that the Gatestone Institute act more responsibly and assure that it does not publish discriminatory pieces which jeopardize the safety of minority ethnic groups by ostracizing them and questioning their belonging in the bodies-politic of their countries.
Public Relations & Communications Chair of the Iranian Canadian Congress
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Iranian Canadian Congress