Canada's public safety minister has ordered members of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) community outreach unit not to attend a conference in Ottawa today featuring Iranian professors closely tied to the Islamic Republic's regime.
"Let me be clear," Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said, "Canada's national police force must have no involvement in any event organized by those who promote extremism and hatred."
Until Toews spoke up, the Toronto Sun reports, "the RCMP's 'ethnic liaison office' was promoting the event to members of the national force and one of the participants is a member of the Mounties' cultural diversity committee."
The "Just and Sustainable Peace" conference is organized by four members of Canada's Green Party. One of the four, a physician named Qais Ghanem, is part of "Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth" and has argued the 9/11 attacks were an "inside job" by the American government. The roster was considered so extreme, it even drew a rebuke from the Green Party leader.
The event's moderator, Zijad Delic, was disinvited from speaking at Canada's National Defence headquarters earlier this month after it was determined his views were too radical.
In an article Wednesday in Point de Bascule, Marc Lebuis argues the episode exposes a problem that is bigger than one conference:
"Disturbing aspects of certain RCMP Community Outreach initiatives invite questions about whether the unit has drifted away from fulfilling its counter-radicalization mandate. The RCMP could now be perceived as catering to Islamists by pressing upon its affiliated community members an event with troubling implications and connections."
A government sanctioning of the event, which appeared likely before Toews' order, upset Muslim opponents of the Iranian regime. Attorney Sayeh Hassan expressed concern that the organizers were giving a platform to advocate for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"People like myself that have escaped the regime and the propaganda are concerned that now they're bringing these professors promoting the regime to Ottawa," he said.