The Toronto Star – June 30, 2011
Toronto’s gay community will celebrate Pride on downtown streets on July 3, 2011. At the same time, Muslims attending a major Islamic conference at the nearby Metro Toronto Convention Centre will hear from two anti-homosexual speakers.
Journey of Faith is the same annual event that drew criticism last year for inviting a televangelist, whose speech was later cancelled, who expressed solidarity with Osama bin Laden and disparaged homosexuals and other groups.
Bilal Philips, a charismatic Jamaican-Canadian religious scholar who embraced Islam in 1972 in Toronto, where he was raised, has advocated death as a punishment for males who “confess” to homosexual behaviour, or are seen performing homosexual acts by four reliable witnesses, in countries governed by Islamic law. The word of the Qur’an must be followed in Islamic countries, he said, and the Qur’an says gays must be killed.
The leader of the conference argued that controversial speakers are entitled to freedom of speech. Philips, 63, said he attended Jarvis Collegiate and Northview Heights high schools in Toronto. Now a resident of Qatar, he was expelled from Germany in April and denied entry to England in 2010.