National Muslim Group Asks Trudeau to Apologize for ‘Inflammatory’ Comment About Parents' Rights Protest

National Muslim Group Asks Trudeau to Apologize for ‘Inflammatory’ Comment About Parents' Rights Protest
Protesters hold signs in front of counter-protestors at a demonstration against sexual orientation and gender identity programs in schools, in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sept. 20, 2023. The protest was one of many across Canada, organized by "1MillionMarch4Children," as they protest against so-called "gender ideology" being taught in schools. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)
Noé Chartier

A pan-Canadian Muslim group is asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others to retract and apologize for their comments made with respect to the March for Children on Sept. 20, saying they used their influence to “unjustly demonize families” and “alienate countless students.”

The Muslim Association of Canada issued a statement on the platform X on Sept. 25, saying it “strongly condemns remarks on recent protests made by certain politicians, including our Prime Minister, as well as statements from school boards, unions, and reports from some media outlets.”

"By alienating the peaceful protests of thousands of concerned parents as hateful, Canadian leaders and school boards are setting a dangerous precedent of using their position of influence to unjustly demonize families, and alienate countless students," said the group, which claims to be the largest grass-roots Muslim organization in Canada with chapters in 13 cities.

Thousands of people marched across the country to protest against gender ideology being taught in schools and for the rights of parents to have primacy over their children, instead of that being in the hands of learning establishments and governments.

Mr. Trudeau posted on social media on Sept. 20 coinciding with the cross-country protests, saying, “Let me make one thing very clear: Transphobia, homophobia, and biphobia have no place in this country.”

“We strongly condemn this hate and its manifestations, and we stand united in support of 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians across the country—you are valid and you are valued.”

Unions also planned counter-protests to the parents’ march and a videoconference of their leaders organizing was leaked online. They also said that parents and others who oppose the Sexual Orientation and Gender Ideology curricula are hateful.

“We've seen where they're targeting and what they're doing, which is the insidious ways that they're saying that they are protecting children, and we know that, far from protecting children, this is actually an attack on children and on communities,” one organizer said.

Liberal MP Andy Fillmore also called protesters “far-right bozos” who are “marching in the streets today under the ruse of standing up for Canada’s kids.”

“This is what bigots do—they mask their hatred under the cover of fake causes because they know we won’t accept it for what it really is: hate,” he wrote on X.

The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) said in its statement that thousands of Muslims and other faith-based groups protested to be heard and not to “sow division.”

“Parents should have the absolute right to advocate for the wellbeing of their children,” it says.

The group says that comments by the prime minister and others could lead to Muslim students being bullied in school or “coerced into activities that contradict their faith.”

MAC is asking for politicians and school boards to retract their “deeply inflammatory and divisive comments” and apologize to parents and protesters.

MAC says on its website that its “understanding of Islam is one of balance and moderation, constructive engagement in society, focus on personal and communal empowerment, and establishing value-based organizations, as articulated in the writings of the renowned reformist, Imam Hasan Al-Banna.”

Mr. Al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1920s, which developed into a globally influential religious and political organization.