Jewish activists say a Toronto-area rabbi has been pressured by an area police force to change plans to host a controversial anti-Islamist speaker, prompting accusations the force is squelching free speech.
Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, of the Chabad @ Flamingo Synagogue, cancelled plans to host a talk by Pamela Geller, an American blogger known for her criticism of Islam. She is co-founder of Stop Islamification of America, a group that opposes the proposed building of a mosque at Ground Zero and sponsors anti-Islamic ads in U.S. cities.
Police dispute allegations that there were any threats of intimidation, saying instead that “a discussion” took place Tuesday between Insp. Ricky Veerappan, leader of the York Regional Police force’s diversity, equity and inclusion bureau, and Rabbi Kaplan, who is also a volunteer chaplain with the force. Insp. Veerappan said that during their discussion, the rabbi was presented with more information and a decision.
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