Arabic magazine's anti-Semitic editorial incites outrage

Ontario Deputy Premier Deb Mathews condemns article and the government will stop buying ads in magazine

Posted: July 22, 2016

An anti-Semitic editorial in an Arabic magazine in London, Ont. has sparked widespread criticism. (Amanda Margison/CBC)

Canadian Jewish organizations are outraged after a London, Ont. magazine published an anti-Semitic editorial that tries to justify the Holocaust.

Al Saraha, a monthly magazine printed in Arabic and widely distributed around the city, recently printed an article with the headline "The Question Which Everyone Ignores: Why Did Hitler Kill the Jews?"


"Whether or not the publisher believes this is actually irrelevant because it's being pushed forward to...individuals and it's meant to inform their views," - Michael Mostyn, B'nai Brith Canada

The article claims the number of people killed in the holocaust is grossly overestimated and it outlines the author's theories about why the atrocities were justified.

Angry reaction came from across the province Thursday, including from Ontario Deputy Premier Deb Matthews.

"I want to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the statements in the Al-Saraha article," she said. "Statements like these, filled with hatred, prejudice and lies, have no place in our society."

Magazine boycott

Matthews says, neither she nor the premier knew the article would be published when they bought advertising space in the magazine. Matthews says the advertising will stop.

Advertisements by the Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne appear in London, Ont. magazine Al Saraha. (Amanda Margison/CBC)

Until yesterday, the City of  London's immigration portal linked to the digital edition of the magazine, but the link has been removed.

The magazine's publisher Abdul Hadi Shala said he meant no harm when he selected the article, which was first published in an Egyptian newspaper. He maintains he does not share the editorial stance of the author.

"The opinion here is the writer only, not my opinion," he told CBC News.

The CEO of Jewish organization B'nai Brith Canada, Michael Mostyn, does not accept that explanation.

"Whether or not the publisher believes this is actually irrelevant because it's being pushed forward to a community, to individuals and it's meant to inform their views," he said. "This article...explains why the Jews should have been killed."

The publisher says he did not mean to incite hate. Both he and his son, Tarieq Shala, say there was some oversight in selecting the article.

Tarieq says more care and attention will go into those decisions.

"Things will be reviewed more carefully next time," he said.