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Muslim Chaplain at Toronto Hospital for Sick Children Eulogizes Founder of Hamas

Ayman Taher speaking at Palestine House in Toronto. Photo: Screenshot

An Islamic chaplain at Toronto’s main pediatric hospital was under scrutiny on Thursday after video emerged of him encouraging parents to show their children a clip of the founder of Hamas predicting the eventual destruction of the State of Israel.

The video clip — unearthed by the Washington, DC-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) — showed imam Ayman Taher praising remarks made by the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas, in a 1998 interview with the Qatari-owned broadcaster Al Jazeera.

“If you did not watch this, Google it and watch it, let your children watch it, because this is history that needs to be absorbed,” Taher — who serves as the Islamic chaplain of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and as imam of the Ibrahim Jame Mosque in Hamilton, Ontario — stated during a Dec. 18 speech at Palestine House in Toronto, the headquarters of a nonprofit organization that caters to the Palestinian community in Canada.

“When [Al Jazeera correspondent] Ahmed Mansour was asking Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, he said to him: ‘Sheikh…’ And the sheikh was barely out of Israeli jails, by the way. He said to him: ‘Do you believe that Israel will [be] finished?’ He [Yassin] said to him with confidence: ‘Yes.’ He [Mansour] said to him: ‘When do you think it will [be] finished?’ He [Yassin] said: ‘2027.’ And I said to myself: ‘How calm, how confident this man is.’”

Taher went on to eulogize Yassin, a wheelchair-bound cleric whom Israel held responsible for the deaths of several Israeli citizens and who was killed in a March 2004 Israeli strike on Gaza City.

“Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was handicapped,” Taher said. “The only thing that moved in him was his tongue. Allah gave him that faith to speak his mind and inspire the generations to come. In the most difficult time, when his own life was not safe, and we know how Allah has honored him.”

He said that when Yassin “was in jail and after that when he was living in very difficult times, he never had doubt that Allah is going to give victory to his religion, we [also] should not, because he has inspired millions.”

He then added:  “I know I am getting myself in trouble now for speaking on social media. Who cares, because if [we] do not get ourselves into trouble, we will not be getting victory.”

On Thursday, one pro-Israel advocacy group claimed in a post on X/Twitter that the Hospital for Sick Children had suspended Taher pending an investigation.

“What is there to investigate? It’s right there in black and white,” one X/Twitter user responded. “Sick Kids that should have acted before now. Repugnant.”

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Washington Says It Will Not Back Expanded IDF Operations in Rafah

Displaced Palestinians, who fled their homes due to the war provoked by Hamas’s terror attacks, shelter in a tent camp, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, December 29, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Shadi Tabatibi

i24 NewsMedics reported that Israeli airstrikes overnight in Gaza’s Rafah claimed the lives of 17 individuals on Saturday.

The attacks come as tensions escalate, with over a million Palestinians densely packed into the border city, awaiting a potential full-scale offensive amid widespread destruction across the enclave and limited avenues of escape.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced plans for military action, aiming to evacuate Rafah’s population and dismantle four Hamas battalions allegedly stationed in the area.

As IDF prepares for an intense ground operation in Rafah, its efforts to create safe corridors for Palestinian civilians are made more difficult by the fighting ongoing throughout Gaza. @mcauliffe_marym joins @Nicole_Zedek with the latest updates:

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) February 10, 2024

Unlike previous conflicts where civilians were urged to seek refuge in southern Gaza, the current situation presents a dilemma as there are no relatively unscathed areas left, leaving residents with nowhere to flee. Aid agencies have warned of the potential for a significant loss of civilian lives should an assault on Rafah occur.

Reports from Gaza City indicate intensified fighting on Saturday, with residents reporting clashes amid the ongoing hostilities.

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, disclosed plans to coordinate the relocation of Rafah residents northward in anticipation of potential military action. However, Egypt has stated its refusal to permit mass displacement of Palestinians into its territory,.

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Numerous Weapons Discovered in UNRWA Premises in Gaza

View of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90.

i24 NewsThe IDF revealed that it had discovered, in the areas of Shati and Tel al-Hawa in northern Gaza, twenty terrorist infrastructure sites including a tunnel entrance near an UNRWA school. The tunnel, an “important part of Hamas’ military intelligence services,” passed under the building which serves as the main headquarters of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip.

Large quantities of weapons were found in rooms of the building, including rifles, ammunition, grenades and explosives. Intelligence and documents discovered in the offices of UNRWA officials confirmed that these offices had also been used by Hamas terrorists, the military claims.

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Qatar Says Hamas ‘Promises’ Hostages Received Medicines, But Offers no proof

One of the digital billboards of Hamas hostages that were taken down in London. Photo: Provided

i24 NewsIn a recent development, Qatar has informed both Israel and France that Hamas has purportedly agreed to ensure that hostages receive the essential medicines delivered to them in the Gaza Strip.

Last month, Qatar facilitated the transfer of these crucial drugs to Gaza following a comprehensive list compiled with input from the hostages’ respective doctors. The medications in question are deemed “vital,” primarily aimed at addressing chronic illnesses among the hostages.

This development comes amidst ongoing efforts to address the welfare and medical needs of the hostages held in Gaza, with international stakeholders closely monitoring the situation for further updates.

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