Muslim group demands apology from Harper, chief spokesman over comment

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's director of communications Jason MacDonald speaks in Ottawa on Nov. 20, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA - A major Canadian Muslim group is demanding an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his chief spokesman for a comment it says links the organization to a terrorist group.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims has filed a notice of libel in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that accuses Jason MacDonald of acting maliciously when he made the comment earlier this month.

The council had criticized the inclusion of a controversial rabbi in Harper's delegation that went to the Middle East last week.

The notice quotes MacDonald as saying, "We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas."

The notice is the first step in what could become a formal libel suit.

A half-dozen other rights groups, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, have offered support to the Muslim group.


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