by Doris Strub Epstein
It was an extraordinary evening; a cantor singing Mizmor David and black gospel singers singing for the peace of Jerusalem. Pastors and politicians, a rabbi and a Yazidi survivor, all coming together at the Revivaltime Tabernacle on Dufferin St., to denounce Islamic terrorism and affirm unity with Israel, who is “on the front-line” of international terrorism, as Minister of Finance, Joe Oliver told the audience of Christians and Jews.
“Over 60 Israeli soldiers have given their lives for our freedom,” said Dr. Charles McVety, CEO of Canada Christian College and Christians United for Israel, who together with B’nai Brith, organized the event . “The evil of Hamas is the same evil driving ISIS to kill so many Christians in Iraq and Syria. This barbarism must be opposed. If we don’t stand up against them it’s our heads next.”
Merza Ishlam, a Yazidi from Iraq gave immediacy and reality to those words when he described the horror of how ISIS terrorists came into their towns and villages and slaughtered, in the most unimaginable acts of barbarism, thousands of men, women and children. “As soon as they reached a village they murdered thousands . They cut a baby in half in front of the mother. They cut a baby out of a pregnant woman.
They are the enemy of humanity. They are the enemy of God. I ask all of you to support us so we can survive this genocide. If they are not stopped they will be everywhere.”
Christians too are being persecuted, but “the world is silent,” lamented Minister Oliver. “We must all stand up and deny them this victory.”
“It is now, more than ever, a critical time for believing Christians and Jews to stand together,” stated Frank Dimant, CEO B’nai Brith Canada. “At the hands of terrorists, we have seen beheadings of Christians and many innocent civilians. It is imperative that we stand together against these groups whether they be ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, or Islamic Jihad. Israel faces a similar threat from the terrorism of Hamas. Standing together as united communities and memorializing those who have fallen in the fight against terrorism is a great priority to both believing Christians and Jews alike.”
Speaking for Israel, Consul General D.J. Schneeweiss expressed profound appreciation for Canada’s steadfast support. Israel did not seek a war he said . “We are a country under fire – too much death, too much destruction.” Although Israel is the focus in the media and Hamas, Oliver said earlier, is winning the propaganda war, he reassured the audience that Israel was strong and would prevail. He added, “There is a moral divide between the radical terrorist organizations and us. The Middle East turns on hatred. We are against terror and hatred.”
Rabbi Howard Morrison of Beth Emeth admitted that this was the first time in the 14 years he lives in Toronto that he was in a church. “We need to have more shared programs because our unity far transcends our differences,” he said.
But it was MP Mark Adler who made it clear in an emotionally charged speech, that not only Israel was under threat but Canada too. “Our values, our liberty and the rule of law.” It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or a Jew or what ethnic group you belong to “we are all Canadians and all of us have to support the democratic State of Israel.”
The message of the evening rang out loud and clear. Don’t get fooled by the Hamas/Gaza war on Israel and that it’s all about Muslims and Jews. The battles by radical Islam organizations may be in the Middle East right now, but we in the Western world are their ultimate goal. Individual freedom, religious freedom, gender equality, separation of church and state, democracy – everything we believe in, they reject.
As we left the room, making it a point to shake hands with those we did not know, the empowerment of unity filled us. It was a feeling to live by and a hope that it will be channeled into effective action.
Dr. McVetey who blamed the US for leaving a vacuum in Iraq for ISIS to gain entry announced that on September 13th, a march will be held from Queens Park to the US Consulate. Comparing the Islamic terrorists with the Nazis and the appeasement that resulted in a world war, he was adamant. “They must be stopped now!”