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Factsheet: Ron Banerjee & Canadian Hindu Advocacy

Published on 9 March 2019

IMPACT: Ron Banerjee is a Canadian anti-Muslim activist who has protested against religious accommodations for Muslim schoolchildren, and who organizes anti-Islam and anti-Muslims rallies throughout Canada. Banerjee steers Hindu organizations that are anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh, often in coordination with other Islamophobic groups and activists in Canada.

Ron Banerjee, described in National Post reporting as a “long-time activist on the extreme anti-Islam fringe,” directs the Canadian Hindu Advocacy (CHA). Established in 2008, CHA has described itself as an organization that “advocate[s] for Canadian Hindus” and “stand[s] up for Canada, traditional Canadian values, and democratic principles.”

In a July 2011 op-ed, Banerjee described CHA as an organization that “exist[s] to counter hate and oppression, mostly from Sikh and Muslim fundamentalists.”

CHA has strong ties with Rise Canada, an organization that purports to “defend Canadian values, which often conflict with the Islamic way of thinking.” Banerjee is listed as the “senior advisor” to Rise Canada, and according to court documents, owns Rise Canada’s website.

According to court documents, Banerjee “owns and administers a number of social media accounts.” The CHA twitter account has tweeted misogynist language and highly disparaging and derogatory comments about Malala Yousafzai, as well as anti-Muslim slurs.

Banerjee has claimed that Islamophobia is a “fake term” and that it was “created by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

In a video posted on Rise Canada’s YouTube account in October 2015, Banerjee can be seen holding a Qur’an while spitting on it and wiping it across his butt. In a video uploaded on Rise Canada’s YouTube account in January 2018, Banerjee described Islam as “basically a rape cult.”

Banerjee has referred to Israel as “a jewel in a sea of muck.” He has stated that “Western nations like Canada should also be based on Western values, not on Islamic values, not on jihad values, not on sharia value, but on decent, civilized, Western values.” Banerjee has also argued that Islam is not compatible with democracy.

In January 2010, Banerjee made disparaging remarks about Islam and Muslims at an event organized by the Jewish Defence League of Canada (JDL Canada). At the event, Banerjee discussed the “birth rates of Islamic immigrants” in Canada, and said that Islamic civilization “has invented and has contributed less to human advancement than a pack of donkeys.”

Banerjee has referred to Islam as a “tide” and “menace” and expressed support for anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders and Wilders’ assertion that Islam is not a religion. According to Banerjee, it is an “insult to the other great religions of the world” to “refer to Islam as a religion because it is so different.”

Banerjee has penned editorials and letters to the editor with titles such as: “Mosques headed by radical imams affects West,” “Radical Islam and the Survival of the West,” “Extreme Islam,” and “Hindu wonders why Muslims get preferential treatment.”

In a video published in February 2016, Banerjee encouraged people to join the Trump campaign while making comments such as: “Islam is a wicked, evil ideology” and “close the mosques.” He also advocated that citizenship be taken away from Muslims and that “Islam must be prohibited and banned from all civilized countries in the world.” Banerjee further called for “no Muslims and no Islam in Canada or America.”

In 2011, Banerjee publicly opposed Valley Park Middle School in Toronto, Ontario, for allowing the school’s 400 Muslim students to pray the Friday prayers in the school’s cafeteria. In a July 2011 interview for CityTV on the topic, Banerjee claimed, “This is part of the Islam-ification of society.” In a July 2011 op-ed, Banerjee described the Toronto District School Board as “thoroughly infected with Islamist sympathies.”

According to reporting in The Star in July 2011, protesters gathered at the Toronto School District Board, many from CHA, the JDL, and the Christian Heritage Party. Messaging during the protest included slogans like: “Islam must be banned or reformed,” “No Islam in our schools,” “No Mohamed in our schools,” and “No Sharia law in our country.”

In March 2017, the Peel region school district of Mississauga, Ontario, held a school board meeting to discuss, among other issues, religious accommodations for Muslim students. Protesters in attendance disrupted the meeting by ripping pages out of a Qur’an and shouting Islamophobic obscenities. During the meeting, Banerjee delivered prepared remarks before the board, stating that “allowing students to take Islamic prayers may violate Canadian values” and shouting  “Islam is poison.”

In February 2007, a group called “Concerned Citizens Against Terror for Citizens of Newmarket” organized a panel about a mosque in Newmarket, Ontario. The event was titled “House of Worship or House of Terror.” The Star reported those behind the event included Banerjee and Meir Weinstein, head of JDL Canada.

In a video uploaded in March 2017, Banerjee, Kevin Johnston, and David Menzies of Rebel Media can be observed attending a meeting with Kellie Leitch, Member of Parliament of the Conservative Party of Canada. Following the meeting, Banerjee engaged in fundraising to “stop the mosque” in Meadowvale — a reference to a mosque re-zoning project in Mississauga, Ontario.

In July 2017, Banerjee and anti-Muslim activist Kevin Johnston attended a protest organized by the JDL in front of Paramount restaurant in Mississauga. At the time, the restaurant owner, Mohamad Fakih, was hosting a fundraiser for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Protestors gathered at the site of the restaurant in opposition to the government’s settlement of Omar Khadr’s lawsuit.

As detailed in court documents pertaining to Banerjee and Johnston’s speech at the protest, which are no longer available online, Banerjee stated that he and Johnston weren’t allowed into Paramount restaurant because “you gotta be a jihadist” and “you have to have raped your wife at least a few times to be allowed in there.”

Fakih brought a defamation lawsuit against Johnston and Banerjee, referred to as Paramount v. Johnston. In June 2018, Justice S. Nakatsuru of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice rejected a motion by Banerjee to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Banerjee is “an experienced and prolific speaker of hateful language,” and that Banerjee’s comments “go beyond offensive or hurtful expression” and “involve hallmarks of hate.”

Banerjee has also made generalizing, racist, and discriminatory statements about Black Canadians and Afro-Caribbeans, and Sikh Canadians. He has also used homophobic slurs and reportedly physically assaulted a gay rights activist.

In October 2018, then-Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy spoke at a Hindu temple in October 2018 at the invitation of Banerjee and Rise Canada.  

Banerjee also has connections with Eric Brazau, who has mock-performed being Muslim (he is not) on city streets while wearing a thobe and topi (prayer cap traditionally worn in South Asia).

This factsheet is published in collaboration between the Bridge Initiative and researchers at Wilfrid Laurier University. More information about this project can be found here.