The Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Muslims Against Lockdowns was created last month with two administrators, both of whose Facebook profile pictures bear the logo of a Canadian anti-lockdown group called The Line.
The MAL page is also filled with posts referencing The Line, including links to its social media pages and even a call for donations to be sent to Lamont Daigle, who runs the group. The donations are for a recent effort to gather Muslims together in an outdoor congregation, flouting Ontario’s lockdown rules and drawing a stiff rebuke from mainstream Muslim community groups.
“Fake Eid Prayer”
The Line is also trying to organize an outdoor congregational prayer for the annual Islamic celebration of Eid-el-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims.
The group even made a poster for the event, taking place in Mississauga, Ontario today, May 13. The lockdown in Ontario has severely limited religious facilities, including mosques, from convening gatherings. Many mosques, out of caution, have already discontinued all services during the lockdown.
The Line, on the other hand, is trying to organize what it calls a “Proper Eid Prayer,” and MAL has posted a request for donations going towards the event.
“Islam prohibits the slightest gaps during prayer,” the event’s poster says. “Traditionally, Muslims are required to stand shoulder to shoulder for prayer.”
Then it goes on to say how gaps between congregants while praying is associated with Satanic energies, a claim peddled before by fringe preachers like Imran Hosein. The poster also commands Muslims to abandon “fraudulent narratives” such as socially distanced prayers.
Assertions like this prompted a stern statement and rebuke from the Canadian Muslim COVID-19 Taskforce, which rejected any theological justifications for violating social distancing rules. The taskforce is backed by a handful of major national Muslim organizations, and called out The Line for “non-Muslim leadership” and for having no credibility in any Muslim communities.
In addition to dozens of posts that push anti-vax and anti-lockdown conspiracy theories, the Muslims Against Lockdowns page also posts talks by two fringe Muslim preachers known for their own forays into antisemitic rhetoric both during and prior to the pandemic.
Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories
The MAL page is filled with posts featuring Trinidadian Muslim preacher and self-described “Islamic scholar” Imran Hosein, who used to be known for his work on Islamic finance and related issues.
More recently, however, Hosein’s sizable online presence (247,000 YouTube subscribers) has been devoted more to freelance preaching on a wide range of topics, but often about Jewish people and the state of Israel.
In at least one previous talk, Hosein casually speculates that “Israel has to extend its territory” via “big wars” in order to bring about the Second Coming—the clear goal of all Jews around the world as far as Hosein is concerned.
He then says that Israel is likely behind the Arab Spring, the famous series of uprisings across various Arab-majority countries in the Middle East which, according to Hosein, opened up a convenient opportunity for Muslims “to rise.” This will then give the Jewish state a subsequent reason to retaliate against the Muslims, annex their land, and bring about the return of the Messiah.
Hosein’s talks are filled with such convoluted, wild, and baseless theories that align with more alt-right ideas of how “the Jews” conspire to orchestrate major world events at the expense of the rest of humanity, or with Alex Jones-like tropes of “globalists” controlling the world while killing millions of people.
Moreover, Hosein also asserts on multiple occasions that Islam “firmly prohibits” Muslims from forming “friendships or alliances” with Christians and Jews.
Most of the posts on the MAL Facebook page pushing Hosein’s work were posted by Rose Jazmin, one of two admins for the group. One recent post even features a lecture on the pandemic by Hosein (who sees lockdown and masking rules as anti-Islamic), with Jazmin commenting that she personally requested him to record the talk. Jazmin also posted a photo with a number of books by Hosein, asking for members of the group to “support Sheikh Imran Hosein's work.”
Another, more obscure Muslim preacher who features prominently on the MAL page is Omar Baloch (over 20,000 YouTube subscribers), who has also pushed antisemitic conspiracy theories that connect world Jewry or Israel to the pandemic.
In a video called “Danger Coming to the Arab World,” posted by Jazmin on April 30th, Baloch spends over 15 minutes suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic is manmade and that the number of dead are “inflated.” So, Baloch infers, those behind this artificial virus (a “bioweapon”) will use a number of stealthy ways to kill Muslims and Arabs, thus fulfilling the official COVID death count around the world.
Then, towards the end of the video, Baloch brings up how “they” also have “plans to take over your lands” (ie. Muslim majority countries). “We know what the greater Israeli project is,” he says. In other words, the Israeli Jews play some conspiratorial role in spreading Covid and using it as a weapon against the Muslims and Arabs.
In addition to being a hub of sorts for numerous talks by Hosein and Baloch, the MAL page also features a post by a rather active member by the name of Mike Jay, who shared a 6-minute video on April 27th called “2020: the Dark Year.”
Jay recommends the video as a good recap of “the globalist attack on humanity and the push back by citizens across the world.” The term “globalist” is a well known euphemism used by those on the neo-Nazi alt-right to refer to Jews who they believe act as conspiratorial puppet masters who corrupt the white race.
Follow Steven Zhou on Twitter at @stevenzzhou.
This article is part of a project which has been made possible in part thanks to the the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and Sun Life financial.