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Gaza: Muslim donors cut off supplies to Liberals of Trudeau | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Justin Trudeau addresses Mohamed Abokasem, member of the Network 100 donor group, in 2021.

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Turbulences in the liberal sky. Nothing is going well between a group of influential Canadian Muslim donors to the Liberal Party of Canada (PLC) and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, still reluctant to call for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. /p>

In an official letter sent to party president Sachit Mehra on November 27, the group — which calls itself Network 100-GTA, London, Ottawa, Montreal and says it has 400 members — said it had asked Justin Trudeau on several occasions , to call for a ceasefire.

The leader [Justin Trudeau] does not seem to want to listen, nor truly value international law, nor truly care about the children of Gaza. It is with broken hearts that we must leave the Laurier Club, write the members of this group in a letter addressed to Sachit Mehra, president of the Liberal Party.

The idea that this situation will be forgotten in two years is an extremely risky and ill-advised strategy for the party, they warn.

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Sachit Mehra delivers a victory speech after being elected president of the Liberal Party during the last day of the Liberal convention in Ottawa, May 6, 2023.

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The Laurier Club is comprised primarily of Canadian Muslim professionals, such as lawyers and doctors. Formed in December 2014, it helped Justin Trudeau win his first election victory in 2015.

He says he has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Liberal Party every year since December 2014. One member of the group — whose donation records CBC News verified with Elections Canada — contributed nearly $19,000 to the Liberals since the founding of this club.

The Laurier Club is part of the upper echelon of donors to the Liberal Party.

On November 14, Justin Trudeau expressed the harshest criticism of Israel since the start of the war against Hamas. He urged Israel to exercise maximum restraint. The world is witness to this massacre of women, children and babies. This must stop, he declared at a press conference.

This statement led to him being reprimanded on social networks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Trudeau has also repeatedly stated that Israel has the right to defend itself after the Hamas attack that left 1,200 dead on October 7.

Since then, Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry has said Israel has killed more than 17,000 people in its military response. He says most of those killed were children or teenagers. Public health experts told Reuters news agency that Hamas kept accurate population figures before the conflict.

Donor Network members have spoken to Mr. Trudeau or his chief of staff, Katie Telford. Other members of the network participated in a virtual meeting with the party president on December 5.

A longtime LPC organizer and prominent Canadian Muslim told CBC News he told Mehra at the meeting that Liberals should not think our community will forgive and forget.

The organizer said he would let Mr. Mehra take the donors' message to the Prime Minister's Office and give Mr. . Trudeau until January to respond.

The organizer, who describes himself as a founding member of Network 100, said the group may have to consider escalation if Mr. Trudeau does not start calling for a ceasefire.

Next steps could include telling some Liberal MPs that the group will support NDP or Green Party candidates in certain ridings, given that both parties have called for a ceasefire, said ;organizer.

CBC News verified the name of the organizer in the Elections Canada database. He alone has contributed more than $20,000 to the Liberals since December 2014, when the group began operating.

If every member of the group cuts funding to the Liberals, the party could find itself short at least $680,000 a year. The party raised $14.5 million last year, according to Elections Canada. The organizer who spoke to CBC also said the group could still support Liberal MPs who have openly called for a ceasefire.

They also said the party could lose more than money. The organizer said Muslim communities strongly supported Mr Trudeau in 2015 and Network 100 encouraged people to go door-to-door for the party.

The organizer said a lot could change for Liberal candidates in key southern Ontario ridings if 1,000 former campaign volunteers decide to stay home. Another Network 100 member, Mohamad Abokasem, told CBC News that he had lost confidence in Mr. Trudeau and that a change in the prime minister's position on a ceasefire would not be helpful. likely to ease tensions.

We believed in the promises made by Justin Trudeau in 2014, said Mr. Abokasem, citing Mr. Trudeau's stated commitment to human rights and the renewal of Canada's presence on the international scene.

We are not asking him to take sides. I don't want him to support the Palestinians or the Jews. It's not about that. It's about us as a people, it's about civilian victims.

A quote from Mohamad Abokasem, Network 100 member

We cannot sleep at night imagining that by the time you sleep and wake up, there are at least 50 Palestinians being killed on the ground, he added, adding that he and his family had fled Gaza as a refugee as a child.

Network 100's action comes at a vulnerable time for the Liberals, who have lost ground to the federal Conservatives in voting intention polls for several consecutive months. Most polls currently show that Pierre Poilievre's conservatives would win the election if it were held now.

Shachi Kurl, president of the institute pollster Angus Reid, said the Liberals could not afford to lose massive Muslim support in this context.

The Muslim diaspora in Canada tends to lean more to the left than to the right and to support the Liberal Party more than the Conservative Party. But where the X factor exists, it is in the possibility for the NDP to gain or regain support from the Liberals on this issue at the electoral level, he explains.

The Liberal Party did not respond to specific questions regarding its relations with Canadian Muslims.

Based on the report by Raffy Boudjikanian, CBC News

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